First created in 1874, LOUIS XIII has made a name for itself as being one of the most prestigious cognacs in the world. Encased in a delicate decanter, it has been served at some of the most resplendent and majestic occasions throughout history.
The involvement of LOUIS XIII with China dates back to 1880 when the first decanter of LOUIS XIII was shipped to Shanghai. According to the “China Unstoppable 2020 Luxury Market” released by Bain & Company, China is expected to become one of the biggest luxury markets by 2025. LOUIS XIII has been growing its awareness amid a booming domestic spending in the luxury sector.
From communication to retail, LOUIS XIII continuously innovates by bringing meaningful topics to the attention of younger generations. With the respect of heritage and transmission, LOUIS XIII launched the “Heritage Awakening” (《再造100年》艺术计划) in 2014, a non-profit initiative serving to preserve Chinese craftsmanship by conversing with a new generation of contemporary and aspiring artists to reinterpret traditional culture and encourage exploration in the future.
With offline boutiques in Beijing, Xi’an, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, as well as digital flagship stores on Tmall, JD.com and WeChat, LOUIS XIII expanded its address book of China boutiques to a fifth location at Plaza 66, Shanghai in June of this year. This set a new milestone for its global retail strategy. At the opening event, Jing Daily caught up with Nicolas Beckers, CEO of Rémy Cointreau Greater China, to learn about the brand’s heritage, its long-standing journey with Chinese customers, and his vision for the local market.
Jing Daily (JD): What shifts have you observed in the industry in recent years?
Nicolas Beckers (NB): China has been one of the first major countries in the world to recover and thrive in recent years. Currently, the Chinese clients cannot travel internationally. This means that they now purchase LOUIS XIII in the domestic market.
Clients in China are getting younger and more sophisticated. They show greater interest in sustainability and environmental issues and search for brands who focus on this in their operations and marketing strategy. In addition, they are digitally savvy, mixing offline and online experiences as well as being active on social media.
JD: What do LOUIS XIII’s typical Chinese clients look like and how do they compare to ones from other markets?
NB: LOUIS XIII is not only a cognac, but also an icon of luxury. We believe that our clients are all looking for customized experience and refinement.
JD: Why did LOUIS XIII choose Shanghai as its next official offline presence for the brand?
NB: LOUIS XIII was first created in 1874. Then, in 1880, that very first decanter was shipped to Shanghai, thus beginning a history of more than 140 years with China. The story of LOUIS XIII in China started here in Shanghai.
LOUIS XIII is targeting only leading partners and luxury malls or department stores. We are delighted to open LOUIS XIII Shanghai Boutique at Plaza 66, which is a landmark for luxury retail in Shanghai, and in China.
[LOUIS XIII Shanghai Boutique at Plaza 66. Photo: LOUIS XIII]
JD: What experiences can visitors expect at the new boutique?
NB: Our clients will have access to our range of products: from the LOUIS XIII CLASSIC, LOUIS XIII MAGNUM, LOUIS XIII LE JEROBOAM to the monumental LOUIS XIII LE MATHUSALEM, in addition to limited editions. Furthermore, clients can ascertain our brand’s heritage in a more modern, digital approach through the ‘Century Wheel’ displayed at the center of the boutique. Customers can also revel in the ritual and the tasting experience of LOUIS XIII. Our boutique tasting officers are delighted to share the LOUIS XIII French art-de-vivre and tasting experiences.
Recently, we have revealed the “Time Capsule,” an artistic and interactive installation which offers different expressions of the time and space of LOUIS XIII, an invitation to embark on a poetic journey.
JD: Outside of brick-and-mortar, what has LOUIS XIII implemented to engage Chinese consumers and what are your digital initiatives?
NB: In addition to offline boutiques, LOUIS XIII has two flagship e-boutiques on JD.com & Tmall, and also one on WeChat. In selected cities like Shanghai, we offer special services like delivery within six hours after confirmation. When possible, our brand ambassadors would ensure the delivery, as they are able to provide a full tasting experience while professionally representing LOUIS XIII.
JD: LOUIS XIII has shown its commitment to Chinese culture through various projects. How do you approach traditional Chinese culture in the modern context?
NB: At LOUIS XIII we believe that the present is a promise of the future, it’s also a reminder of the past. When we look into China – a civilization with a brilliant legacy – we discovered that there are a lot of exquisite techniques, and craftsmanship that have been passed down over centuries. Thus, the “Heritage Awakening” Project (《再造100年》艺术计划) was initiated in 2014 to recreate or to develop some Chinese artisan heritage in a more twenty-first-century approach. This idea aligns with our brand value “THINK A CENTURY AHEAD” and hopes to convey the original heritage and delve into what it could mean for the Chinese consumers in the coming future.
[LOUIS XIII Heritage Awakening Xishuangbanna Experience of Transmission and Recreation. Photo: LOUIS XIII]
JD: In addition to the Heritage Awakening Project, how does LOUIS XIII interpret and communicate “THINK A CENTURY AHEAD”?
NB: We have two global initiatives engrained with this vision. The first is a film called “100 years” imagining what the world might be like in the next 100 years. This film will be released in 100 years, meaning that no one will see it before then. The second project is a song also named “100 years” which is engraved on a clay disk made of soil from the Cognac region which is where LOUIS XIII comes from. This clay disk has been enclosed in a box for safekeeping and will only be opened if we have managed to control climate change.
JD: How will LOUIS XIII expand its footprint in China in the coming years? And what kind of future, in China, can we expect from you?
NB: China is a strategic market in which LOUIS XIII genuinely wants to develop its business. We will continue to develop our own boutiques as we have a client-centric approach and we will continue to engage with our clients and provide them with a memorable and customized experience. The essential channels for LOUIS XIII right now are leading malls and department stores so we can expect even more exciting openings throughout China.