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Hennessy To Debut New Expressions, Extend Ad Push, As Growth Accelerates

January 31, 2014

Cognac category leader Hennessy has been on the rise in the U.S. over the last two years, advancing 3.5% in 2012, and jumping another 6.5% to 2.4 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. The brand’s recent success has been fueled in part by a move further upmarket—including the launch of the Paradis Imperial label ($2,700 a bottle) in the U.S. late last year—and an aggressive advertising effort. For 2014, Hennessy plans to build on current momentum with the rollout of three new upscale entries, as well as an extension of last year’s “Never Stop. Never Settle.” campaign.

Hennessy’s 2014 innovations will include a fourth iteration of the brand’s Limited Edition VS bottle—which has previously featured artwork from contemporary artists such as Kaws, Futura and Os Gemeos, and typically retails for around $30-$32 a 750-ml.—as well as a new entry in its Privilege Limited Edition VSOP series ($50-$60 a 750-ml.) with a redesigned carafe. At the luxury end, Hennessy will also launch its Edition Particuliere label (around $27,000 a bottle) in the U.S. this year. Made with a blend of eaux-de-vie from the year 1900, Edition Particuliere will be limited to just 25 bottles globally.

Additionally, Hennessy will continue its “Never Stop. Never Settle.” messaging in partnership with hip-hop artist Nas. The campaign, which intends to “inspire young adults to pursue their dreams,” is designed to appeal to Hennessy’s young LDA target demographic. “We’re interested in engaging all brown spirit drinkers, but of course, given the high-energy nature of VS and the night lounge usage occasion of Hennessy Black, young LDA adults are of big interest to us,” says Rodney Williams, senior vice president for Hennessy at Moët Hennessy USA.

Hennessy’s accelerating growth comes as the U.S. reasserts itself as the world’s most important Cognac market, following years in which most of the category’s focus was on China. As a result of the Chinese government’s crackdown on luxury entertaining, Asia Pacific Cognac sales fell 10% to 56 million bottles last year, according to the BNIC. North America was the only major Cognac region to post growth for the year, up 2% to 53 million bottles.

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