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Top nine best-selling Cognac and brandy brands

Cognac and brandy’s star performers faced mixed fortunes in 2019, despite plenty of innovation and increased marketing spend. We present the brands at the top of the volume ladder.

SB presents the best-selling brandy and Cognac brands

For the fifth consecutive year, Cognac exports improved on the previous year’s performance in terms of both volume and value to reach their highest levels to date, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).

Exports from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019 surpassed 211.1 million bottles – an increase of 2.5% on the previous year. By value, exports reached €3.4 billion (US$3.7bn) – almost 6.9% more than in 2018.

While 2019 saw global brandy sales decline for a second year running, the category has benefitted from disruptive players entering the market and a wave of new product development.

Looking across our top list, it was a mixed year for the world’s biggest Cognac and brandies. Two out of the four Cognacs grew sales slightly, while two brandy brands faced significant double-digit drops.

The world’s biggest‐selling brandy, Emperador, did not supply figures for this year’s Brand Champions report, after selling 25.3m cases in 2018.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2020 report – an in-depth analysis of the brands selling more than one-million cases annually – here, we run through the world’s best-selling Cognacs and brandies on the market today.

Click through the following pages to discover the top nine best-selling Cognac and brandy brands, listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.

Data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2020.

9. McDowell’s No.1 Brandy

2019: 1.3m
2018: 1.4m
% change: -13.2%

Place last year: 8

United Spirits‐owned McDowell’s No.1 Brandy continued to decline in 2019 as sales dropped by a further 13.2% to 1.3m nine‐litre cases. The brand witnessed the largest decline among the world’s biggest-selling brandies.

In May this year, a rumour surfaced that Johnnie Walker owner Diageo was planning to delist its Indian arm, United Spirits. However, the group said it would not comment on the report.

The alleged move came just two months after Diageo increased its shareholding in United Spirits to 55.9% as part of the firm’s long-term premiumisation strategy in India.

8. Torres Brandy

2019: 1.3m
2018: 1.3m
% change: 1.3%

Place last year: 9

Spanish brandy Torres returned to growth in 2019 with a small increase of 1.3% to 1.3m cases.

Last year, the brand released Torres 15 Reserva Privada, which was aged in American oak barrels and described as having “great versatility” for cocktail making.

Torres Brandy is made with grape varieties grown in Penedès, such as Xarello, Ugni Blanc, Macabeo and Parellada.

7. Old Kenigsberg

2019: 1.3m
2018: 1.3m
% change: 1.1%

Place last year: 10

Alliance 1892 Brandy Company’s Old Kenigsberg brandy has witnessed stagnant sales over the last four years, remaining at 1.3m cases after growing by 1.1% in 2019.

Old Kenigsberg brandy is popular in countries such as Russia.

6. Courvoisier

2019: 1.4m
2018: 1.4m
% change: 0.1%

Place last year: 7

Moving up one place in our top 10 list is Beam Suntory-owned Courvoisier Cognac, which reported flat growth in 2019 with an increase of 0.1%.

In Beam Suntory’s 2019 full-year results, Courvoisier Cognac “continued to build momentum” with 7% sales growth.

During 2019, the brand unveiled a number of marketing drives including a storytelling platform and a campaign that celebrates new music in partnership with US record label Def Jam Recordings.

Courvoisier was affected by poor weather conditions in 2017 and 2019, which resulted in a 25% reduced harvest.

5. Rémy Martin

2019: 2.2m
2018: 2.3m
% change: -4.4%

Place last year: 6 

Rémy Cointreau’s flagship brand Rémy Martin Cognac witnessed its first decline in five years after falling by 4.4% in 2019.

It was a busy year for the Cognac brand in 2019, which included the launch of a new global campaign, as well as the latest season of its Producers series.

Rémy Martin also released a new permanent expression in the US and China, called Tercet, and partnered with French metalsmith Steaven Richard on a limited edition XO bottle design.

4. Martell

2019: 2.6m
2018: 2.6m
% change: 1.1%

Place last year: 5

Last year’s Cognac Brand Champion, Pernod Ricard’s Martell reported a slight 1.1% rise in 2019 to 2.6m cases.

In 2019, Martell Cognac opened a new visitor experience at its Gâtebourse site, inviting drinkers to explore the people and history behind the brand.

The brand also launched an interactive talk show to highlight creatives across the worlds of music, art and entertainment.

3. Dreher

2019: 2.8m
2018: 3.1m
% change: 11.3%

Place last year: 3

Campari Group’s Dreher held on to its place in our top 10, however its sales continued to drop in 2019 with a double-digit decline of 11.3% in 2019.

According to Campari Group’s 2019 annual report, Brazilian brands Dreher and Sagatiba cachaça together showed an organic decline of 5.1%, due to the “difficult local market conditions” in Brazil. The brands sit within Campari’s regional priority brands segment.

2. Old Admiral Brandy

2019: 3.8m
2018: 3.0m
% change: 28.7%

Place last year: 4

This year’s Brandy Brand Champion, Old Admiral, reversed declining sales in 2018 to post 28.7% growth last year after selling 3.8m nine‐litre cases. The double‐digit boost for the brand means it has now surpassed its sales high of 2016.

Produced by Radico Khaitan, the brand’s growth was boosted by “consistent quality and packaging innovations”, strong sales in India and a strong consumer base in West Africa and the Middle East.

1. Hennessy

2019: 8.0m
2018: 7.8m
% change: 2.9%

Place last year: 2

Hennessy is our Cognac Brand Champion for the second year in a row. The Cognac, owned by French luxury conglomerate LVMH, grew by 2.9% last year to surpass the 8m milestone.

Michaël Aidan, chief marketing and communications officer at Hennessy, said the brand’s growth was thanks to a “combination of product availability, strong in‐store visibility and impactful communication platforms”.

In 2019, the brand witnessed “solid momentum” in its key markets – the US, China and travel retail.

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