Vranken-Pommery Ramps Up Its U.S. FocusJune 15, 2018
Vranken-Pommery Monopole, the second-largest Champagne marketer worldwide after Moët Hennessy—with volume of 1.56 million cases last year—has been investing in its U.S. business lately with an eye toward expansion in both Champagne and rosé.
Last year, Vranken-Pommery’s flagship Pommery Champagne brand, retailing from $35-$40 for the core Brut Royal, was up 10% to nearly 40,000 cases in the U.S. to rank seventh in the market, according to Impact Databank. The company’s Heidsieck & Co. Monopole and Vranken labels, meanwhile, were roughly flat at 24,000 cases and 6,000 cases respectively.
Stanislas Thierry, vice president of sales and marketing at Vranken-Pommery America, believes the U.S. holds ample growth potential for the company. To bolster momentum for Pommery and its other brands, Vranken-Pommery recently realigned its distributor profile and increased its sales force.
“We’ve been reorganizing a lot of the U.S. business by consolidating with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and hiring a new internal sales team in the big markets like California, Florida, New York, and Illinois,” says Thierry. Vranken-Pommery America’s sales are split roughly 50-50 between on- and off-premise channels, primarily driven by independent and smaller retailers, with only a small presence in national chain retailers.
While Champagne remains the core of the business, Vranken-Pommery America is also looking to compete in rosé with the recent launch of La Chapelle Gordonne, sourced from the company’s Château La Gordonne in the Côtes de Provence appellation and designed to take on brands like Whispering Angel. For the 2017 vintage of La Chapelle Gordonne, Vranken-Pommery is aiming for between 20,000 and 25,000 9-liter cases in the U.S.
Thierry sees similarities between the Champagne and rosé markets, noting that both rely on image and lifestyle cues to entice consumers, and says wine style and consistency—along with more hand-selling—will be critical as Vranken-Pommery looks to raise its U.S. profile in both categories.—Shane English