Sales soar as Chinese acquire taste for Cognac

15th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 15, 2007 (AFP) - The Cognac industry of southwest France reported record exports Thursday, thanks to an explosion of sales to Russia and China.

PARIS, June 15, 2007 (AFP) - The Cognac industry of southwest France reported record exports Thursday, thanks to an explosion of sales to Russia and China.

Overseas sales grew by 9.7 percent in the year to April, to reach 157 million bottles.

It was the highest figure since 1990, before a long period of decline led to the destruction of eight percent of Cognac vineyards.

"Cognac's good state of health is now confirmed, because 2007 is definitely a record year," said Jean-Pierre Lacarriere, president of the Cognac National Interprofessional Bureau (BNIC).

The US remains the biggest importer, thanks to a thriving market in the Afro-American and Hispanic communities.

But the biggest increases in sales were in Russia -- up by 55 percent in a year -- and China, up 49.3 percent. Sales to Russia have now been multiplied by seven in seven years.

However industry insiders also expressed concern about the recent acquisition by Russian drinks conglomerates of several major vineyards. Earlier this year the Russian Wine Trust group took over the Croizet-Eymard Cognac manufacturing house.

BNIC's director general Alain Philippe said there was a fear that Russian manufacturers could use their small holdings of real Cognac to help market their much larger quantities of brandy sold with a fake Cognac label.

"These Russian groups have got to help us persuade Moscow to ban the use of the term Cognac for products made in Russia," said Philippe.

"We are not making any accusations but we are going to be vigilant," said Lacarriere.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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