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Moët Hennessy opens its first bar

The wine and spirits arm of LVMH, Moët Hennessy, has invested millions of euros into opening a five-floor bar in Paris.

Cravan bar
The five-floor Cravan site includes three cocktail bars

Headquartered in Paris, Moët Hennessy’s portfolio of spirits includes Hennessy Cognac, Belvedere vodka, Eminente rum, and Scotch brands Ardberg and Glenmorangie.

The new venue, called Cravan, is located in 165 Saint-Germain boulevard in the sixth district of Paris.

It is based on the original Cravan bar in Paris’ 16th district, opened by cocktail and restaurant expert Frank Audoux.

Moët Hennessy has teamed up with Audoux to open a larger Cravan site in a Parisian building from the 17th century.

Philippe Schaus, chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy, told The Spirits Business that the project had been in development for around two years.

“For some time, we have been thinking about creating a very novel bar concept for different reasons,” he explained. “Moët Hennessy is in the world of bars and a supplier to many bars in the world, but we don’t actually operate one ourselves. It is a way to gain more credibility, knowledge and a place to test ideas and concepts. We wanted to create a complete experience for consumers.”

Schaus said the company came across Audoux’s bar by chance and decided to “elevate” the “unique concept to the next level” by opening a larger version in a more central Paris area.

He added that the location of Cravan is based in a “highly touristic part of Paris” that is popular with British and American visitors because of the history of the area. He noted that the new Cravan bar is located almost opposite to Café De Flore, a historic venue once frequented by writers Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde.

Audoux named his bar after Arthur Cravan (1887-1918), a poet and boxer, and a well-known devotee of Dadaism.

‘Elevated cocktail experience’

The venue allows Moët Hennessy to ‘interact directly with consumers through a new and elevated cocktail experience’.

The site takes inspiration from the worlds of art, fashion, literature, and cinema. It includes three cocktail bars, a bookstore in partnership with New York publishing house Rizzoli, and an invitation-only private atelier and mini Parisian kiosk on the top floor, where films will be screened on summer nights in the ‘world’s smallest cinema’.

Schaus describes the concept of the new venue as “something in-between a luxurious bar in a top hotel and a high-end British club”.

Of the cocktails offered at the site, Schaus said these are made using a few ingredients, including the company’s portfolio of wine and spirits. It is also priced at an “affordable level”, ranging from €15 to €50 (US$16-US$54).

Classic cocktails will be offered, including a twist on an Old Fashioned using Hennessy XO Cognac. The cocktails and food will vary from each floor, with cocktail pairings offered to compliment the dishes.

The new site allows the company to “experiment, train people and develop recipes”, Schaus said.

Schaus also didn’t rule out bringing the concept to other countries.

“We believe this concept will be successful [and] will be profit generating on its own because of its attractiveness, location, etc,” he said. “After that the sky is the limit. You could imagine having this in another city in the world. Every floor has a slightly different concept, so there’s also the element of being able to provide our hotel partners with a new solution or idea.”

From tomorrow (24 June), Cravan will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 5pm to 2am.

The spirits segment of LVMH saw revenue fall by 5% in the first quarter of 2023 as Hennessy Cognac struggled in China and the US.

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