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Cognac urged to adopt age statements in Asia

Cognac must ditch traditional labelling and embrace age statements if it is to survive in the burgeoning Asian market, it has been claimed.

The Cognac market is growing legs in Asia

According to David Baker, managing director for Brandy Classics, XO and VSOP labels should be replaced with age statements in Asia to aid the market’s understanding of the spirit.

“Cognac needs to develop age statements,” he told the drinks business. “It gives a psychological value that people can relate to. It takes time to explain XO and what it means and it becomes increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, the Chinese are snapping up all the vintages they can find. It’s going berzerk.”

The Cognac and brandy categories have had an strong year, with dynamic growth in Asia in general.

But Baker also expressed his concern that the Cognac houses needed to work together on quality rather than presentation to combat fraud.

“There’s far too great an emphasis on image at the moment,” he continued. “That’s a danger because it creates a tempting market for fakes. In many ways the smaller Cognac houses have a greater chance of success because they’re better able to control their business. The more each house goes down its own route the more they’ll lose out. They have to stick together more.”

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