A Crisis Made Cognac Producers Inventive
Brandy was not always as famous as it is now. The French cognac industry in particular had to cope with difficult times more than ten years ago. It struggled with the dusty image of her its drinks and was looking for new ways to overcome the crisis in the luxury department. Among other things, the solution consisted of using Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados anew. After all, it was at this point that producers had to acknowledge that the trends were passing them by in the last years.
The sales markets for spirits continued to grow worldwide, but not for brandies. Sales of top French products continued to decline. That affected not only overseas markets but also home markets in Europe. The reason for this lay in increasingly strict laws and different drinking habits. Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac were considered obsolete. So, the producers decided to come up with bizarre innovations.
Cocktails, Fruit Drinks, and Perfumes
Suddenly there was Armagnac with maple syrup, Cognac with cocoa, and Calvados mixed with fruit drinks. It was all necessary to fight against the ageing image as more and more young consumers could no longer do anything with brandies. The number of knowledgeable gourmands, who knew what to do with the exclusive French brands, continued to drop and only selected customers remained loyal to the producers. Even in France, Scottish whiskey had become the most popular drink in the meantime.
So, the producers decided on a new strategy that aimed at two different directions. On the one hand, the regular customers got selected vintages; on the other hand, cheaper products for mixing cocktails came onto the market. They advertised cognac as a trendy luxury for the world of celebrities. At the same time, the focus was on young and casual drinks for the youth. Suddenly there was even cognac with ice and lemon to buy.
Now, there are no more limits to the willingness to experiment. Consumers suddenly found beverages made from cognac and cocoa, and even perfumes made from cognac. So, the fragrance of the aromatic riches should also develop its effect on wrists and temples. The industry had already struggled with similar problems years earlier. Help came from an unexpected source.
Hip-Hop Saved the Image
American subculture, of all things, brought about the boom in the brandy industry. It suddenly helped discover the advantages of highly complex cognacs. Hip-hop stars like Jay Z, 50 Cent, and Drake found their love for the expensive French spirits and advertised it in their song lyrics or music videos. That took place at the beginning of the millennium when the industry was once again in crisis.
But the hip-hoppers ensured that the popularity of cognac grew rapidly. One song by Busta Rhymes alone is said to have increased sales of the brand Courvoisier by an unbelievable 30 percent. The cognac then became a symbol of prosperity in Afro-American culture. Such a stroke of luck does not occur every day. The producers will do well in the future if they do not to lose sight of their customers.