Cognac drinkers to ditch ‘big four’ for independent brands

26th November, 2014 by Becky Paskin

Cognac drinkers are predicted to switch loyalty from the “big four” brands to discover smaller producers, much like what has happened in the whisky and beer market.


Cognac Tiffon believes the time is coming when smaller distillers will start to take market share from the “big four”

Although almost 90% of the Cognac industry is dominated by four main producers – Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin and Courvoisier – there are “possibilities” for small independent houses to take back some market share as drinkers begin to diversify within the category.

The forecast made by Jan Braastad, president of Cognac Tiffon, comes as three of the big four posted sales declines of between 4-11% in 2013 (The Spirits Business Brand Champions) as Chinese austerity measures eats into volumes.

Braastad said he expects the independent sector to continue to develop over a long period, but to wrestle market share from larger brands, smaller houses must increase their capacity to supply demand.

“Now the big producers have 87% of the market, there are possibilities for small players in the future,” he said.

“Look at what’s happened with whisky and beer – consumers will be interested to taste brands other than the main ones but Cognac houses have to develop their own capacity to grow, and keep quality high.”

Braastad added that the Tiffon house has grand plans to develop its own Braastad Cognac, which is the world’s sixth largest thanks to a strong Nordic brand positioning and strong representation in Norway.

“Our intention is to be recognised as a good Cognac producer,” he said. “In the last 10 years we have invested a lot in our facilities and stock, so now it’s a good time to look at markets other than the Nordics.”

The company is repositioning itself toward VS and VSOP expressions in China, while developing new distribution in markets such as the US, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The house also produces Cognac Tiffon, which has recently gained distribution in the UK through the Great Whisky Company.

9 Responses to “Cognac drinkers to ditch ‘big four’ for independent brands”

  1. Not just the Cognac “drinkers” but also amateurs who discover Cognac do want to taste new brands – small producers and are not interested by the big names. We run Cognac tasting on a weekly basis and the demand is very high from clients to taste unknown Cognac.

  2. Suau-Ballester says:

    Braastad Tiffon is a negociant but not a producer! You’d better look for Estate Craft Producers in the Cognac area, well not knowed, but worth to be !

    • In fact, the Braastad Tiffon family owns 3 brands :
      – one is “Tiffon” operated as a negociant, but with part of it coming from wines bought and distilled in Jarnac
      – another is “Chateau de Triac”, produced from the family vineyards located in the village of Triac, where is also located the distillery
      – the last brand is Braastad, that is owned by a cousin who is a small “traditional” negociant.

    • Braastad says:

      Ets TIFFON sA is a producer with 40 hectares of grapes and distill 90 % of the needs. We sell under two brands BRAASTAD on scandinavia market an TIFFON for UK and Russia

  3. Cognac Max says:

    Hello everyone, I am not so sure about this forecast. I do respect Braastad for what they do but let’s see how big the impact really will be. It is true that there are opportunties for smaller houses though.
    @Suau-Ballester: true.

  4. Pit says:

    @Suau-Ballaster most of cognac houses are at the same time negociants and producers. Tiffon also has vineyards in Triac and distillery in Jarnac!

  5. Hi Jan,

    I agree it will good opportunity for all the smal producer.

    But we Need all tougether, to marketing the Cognac brand.

    The four big one do a great jobb also for the smal one in branding Cognac trou out the world.

    So the costumer will try different Cognac houses.

    My wish is that not the bigg one eats upp all the small one. We need you all.


    Please visit our world biggest CognacExpo in Bergen
    39 producer and over 500+ coustommer

  6. M&P says:

    Looking up the sells in Poland , as a one of the biggest sales player with a brans like of cognags like Francoys Voyer , cognac lheroud , dupuy ,in our porfolio i tootally agree with this forcast. People want to explore new trend and this is oportunity for independent producers.

  7. Would any of you know of any organisation that represents all of the real independents or at least a source for a reliable list of them?

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