Close Menu

Brandy grows faster than Cognac in travel retail

Although its volumes are still far behind, brandy grew faster than Cognac in travel retail in 2022 – and premiumisation could see it grow even more.

brandy cocktail

*This feature was originally published in the September 2023 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, brandy grew by 32% by volume in travel retail in 2022, outperforming Cognac on 24%, but still just under half the figure for total spirits, which was up by 67%. However, the volumes for brandy are still a fraction of what Cognac achieves in GTR, and the disparity is almost certainly greater in value. Consider that in 2021, the leading non-Cognac on the IWSR’s top 100-selling spirits brands in travel retail list was Rémy Cointreau-owned Greek brandy Metaxa, which came in at a lowly 50th place. That compares with Cognac, where Hennessy was fourth behind Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniel’s, and Chivas Regal, and Martell was in seventh place in 2021.

If you lump Cognac and brandy together “it’s basically dominated by very few players in terms of the majority of the business”, says Duty Free Global founder Barry Geoghegan. “I believe the top two or three brands make up 90% of the market. Not that it’s difficult for new entrants, but you must differentiate yourself in terms of packaging and brand story.”

Léna Rusek, brand manager for Bardinet, says: “The key trends in brandy in travel retail right now are the rise of premium products, the growing popularity of aged liquid, and flavoured brandy. These trends are being driven by several factors, including the growing affluence of consumers in emerging markets, the increasing popularity of cocktails, and the growing awareness of the benefits of aging brandy. As the GTR market continues to grow, brandy brands are likely to continue to innovate, and develop new products to meet the needs of consumers.”

The brand helped pioneer flavours by launching Bardinet Coffee in May 2022, with more flavoured expressions promised. In September of that year, rival French brand St Rémy launched its Signature bottling into US travel retail, where you can also now find Seven Tails XO brandy in British Airways lounges in the US, and, since February, in Heathrow.

Find an overview of the whole spirits travel retail market here.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No