Top 10 best-selling Cognac and brandy brandsBy Nicola Carruthers
Cognac and brandy are in healthy growth, led by demand in the US and China. But which million-case brands went above and beyond in 2021?
France’s native spirit soared to new heights last year, with Cognac sales skyrocketing by 31% in value and by 16.2% in volume, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).
Meanwhile, brandy saw an uptick in demand after a slump in 2020. Nine-litre-case sales worldwide increased from 135.4m in 2020 to 141.5m in 2021, figures from Euromonitor International revealed.
There is clearly an appetite for Cognac and brandy, particularly in markets such as the US, while subcategories such as Calvados are bringing more consumers in.
It is also evident among our million-case-selling Cognac and brandies, with only two brands on the list recording declines.
This year’s Brand Champions report welcomed Mansion House Brandy, while Rémy Martin Cognac was a notable omission after its parent firm declined to disclose its figures.
The Brand Champions 2022 report was released last month, outlining the sales of the world’s biggest spirits brands.
Scroll through to discover the top 10 best-selling Cognac and brandies of 2021, listed in order of their nine-litre-case sales.
Data listed is to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2022 report.
10. McDowell’s Brandy
% change: -9.7%
Place last year: 8
Witnessing the biggest drop in case sales among our biggest-selling Cognac and brandies was United Spirits-owned McDowell’s Brandy, which has been on a downward trajectory since 2017; last year, its volume sales fell by 9.7%.
The decline saw it slip it slip two places to 10th spot on our list, with the brand edging closer to falling below the million-case mark.
Diageo’s Indian arm, United Spirits, recently agreed to sell its ‘Popular’ segment of 32 brands, excluding McDowell’s, to Inbrew Beverages for around US$105.7 million. This could mean a greater focus on boosting McDowell’s sales in the future.
9. Torres Brandy
% change: 4.0%
Place last year: N/A
Torres was notably missing from our Brand Champions report last year after it did not disclose its 2020 figures.
This year the Spanish brandy returned to our best-selling list, recording a 4% increase to 1.1m cases. However, Torres failed to recover to its pre-pandemic volume of 1.3 cases, which it had recorded for three years in a row.
8. Christian Brothers
% change: 6.1%
Place last year: 8
American brandy Christian Brothers maintained its eighth spot place from last year, a position it previously shared with two other brands.
The Heaven Hill-owned brandy managed to record a 6.1% increase to 1.2m cases, its first volume rise in four years after stagnant sales.
% change: 7.9%
Place last year: 6
Last year’s Cognac Brand Champion, Courvoisier, delivered a respectable 7.9% volume increase in 2021 after several years of stagnant sales, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Beam Suntory-owned brand recorded a double-digit increase in the first half of 2021, according to the US firm’s financial results.
This year marked a major move for the brand as it revealed a new global campaign and redesign of its range. This could see Courvoisier’s sales continue to climb in the year ahead.
% change: 20.3%
Place last year: 7
Global Spirits-owned Shustoff was crowned Brandy Brand Champion 2022 for the second year in a row.
The brand made significant gains in 2021 with a 20.3% leap in nine-litre-case sales. The boost means the brand has now moved up one space on our best-selling list.
The brandy is produced at the Odessa Cognac Factory, which dates back to 1836. The facility was purchased by Global Spirits in 2007. It also has its own museum, the Shustoff Winery Museum in Odessa, southern Ukraine.
% change: 37.4%
Place last year: 5
Pernod Ricard-owned Martell Cognac had an impressive year in 2021, recovering from its double-digit sales tumble in the previous 12 months.
2021 was a turning point for the brand, which soared by more than a third (37.4%) in 2021 to marginally beat its 2019 volume.
During Pernod Ricard’s financial results for the last six months of 2021, the group noted that Martell increased organic sales by 11% with ‘continued growth momentum’ in China, driven mainly by its Noblige and Cordon Bleu expressions.
The brand also recorded ‘very strong growth’ in Nigeria and Russia, with ‘sell-out growth’ in the US.
% change: 3.7%
Place last year: 3
Brazilian brandy Dreher returned to its pre-pandemic volume with a 3.7% increase to 2.8m cases in 2021.
The brand, owned by Italy’s Campari Group, has had a tumultuous few years with sales on a downward trend since 2017.
Dreher became part of Campari Group’s portfolio in 2001. The brand’s main market is Brazil.
3. Old Admiral Brandy
% change: 1.6%
Place last year: 2
Taking the number three position this year is Old Admiral Brandy, which witnessed a minor increase of 1.6% to 3.8m cases, marking its return to 2019 levels.
Owned by Indian firm Radico Khaitan, the brand previously took the title of Brandy Brand Champion in 2020. With growth back on track, and plans to target new markets, the brand could surpass four million cases in the years to come.
2. Mansion House Brandy
% change: -6.0%
Place last year: N/A
New entrant Mansion House is the biggest-selling brandy in our report with 4.5m cases sold in 2021. However, it was one of two million-case brandies to record a decline last year, down by 6%.
Owner Tilaknagar Industries claims to be India’s largest premium brandy manufacturer and its Mansion House product is the country’s highest-selling premium brandy.
A recent move into flavoured brandies could help the brand return to its sales high of 4.8m cases in 2019.
% change: 9.2%
Place last year: 1
This year’s Cognac Brand Champion, Hennessy, grew sales by more than 600,000 cases last year (up by 9.2%). The world’s biggest Cognac brand witnessed an impressive rebound after a slight dip in 2020, meaning its 2021 volume sales significantly surpassed its 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
LVMH-owned Hennessy Cognac’s strategy is evidently connecting with consumers. In November 2021, the brand launched a video campaign encouraging consumers to take a seat and share stories.
If it continues at this growth rate, the brand could hit 9m cases for the first time in the year ahead.