World’s biggest-selling Cognacs
The number of million-case-selling Cognacs are few and far between, but which brand is the world’s best-seller?
Cognac had a difficult year in 2022, with exports down by 3.7%, the Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins & Spiritueux de France (Fevs) reported.
A recent webinar exploring the global beverage alcohol category by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis revealed a decline in volume in the US and China, two markets for Cognac, contributed greatly to the category’s drop in volume sales last year.
This decline was felt by all three million-case-selling Cognac brands featured in this year’s Brand Champions report. Once again, Rémy Martin declined to share its volume sales for 2022, hence its omission from the report.
However, while total Cognac volume was down, value was up by 9.3% in 2022, Fevs said, reflecting a trend towards premiumisation across the category. So there remains a lot to be optimistic about across the category.
Cognac has previously been grouped with the top-selling brandies, but has been given its own spotlight this year.
Scroll down to take a closer look at the world’s biggest-selling Cognac brands.
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 2023 report.
% change: -19.4%
Courvoisier is sitting dangerously close to the million-case threshold after its volume sales dropped by almost a fifth in 2022 (down by 19.4%). It’s a far cry from two years ago when the brand was crowned 2021’s Cognac Brand Champion.
Owned by Beam Suntory, Courvoisier made moves in travel last year, opening its first boutique store in Haikou International Shopping Mall in the Chinese province of Hainan.
In February last year, the brand also appointed Thibaut Hontanx as its chief blender and revealed a new global campaign and packaging redesign.
% change: -11.1%
This year’s Cognac Brand Champion title was bestowed upon Martell, despite a double-digit volume decline in 2022. While 11.1% might sound like a lot, it equates to 290,000 nine-litre cases – not a massive drop from the brand’s 2.6m cases in 2021 to 2.3m last year.
It is actually the same amount as Beam Suntory’s Courvoisier; but Martell was able to minimise its percentage decline from a larger starting base – meaning it should stay comfortably in the million-case ranks, even if 2023 is unkind to its volume sales.
A spokesperson for Martell highlighted the brand’s diversified growth in various regions as a contributing factor to its performance last year. “In China, which is one of the largest markets in the world for Martell, the strong Mid-Autumn Festival [was] balanced by [the] soft Q2 due to Covid restrictions,” the spokesperson noted.
% change: -8.1%
Hennessy took the Cognac Brand Champion title in 2022, but suffered an 8.1% decline in volume sales last year, slipping below the 8m-case mark to 7.9m cases. In spite of this, it remains the undisputed leader of the Cognac category, selling nearly three times more than its closest rival, Martell.
Hennessy has been active in its marketing campaigns so far in 2023, no doubt keen to bring its volume sales back into growth. In February this year, the brand partnered with singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, before teaming up with designer Kim Jones in March. Next year’s Brand Champions report will tell if its efforts have paid off.
If you’re looking for more information about million-case-selling spirits, take a look at the world’s biggest-selling brandies.