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Impact Databank: Cognac Projected To Reach All-Time High In U.S. This Year

July 6, 2020

After supply constraints slowed growth in the United States for a few years, Cognac’s momentum has accelerated again. Last year import shipments rose 16.6% to 7.9 million 9-liter cases, more than twice their volume of just six years prior. Value growth to the U.S. was even more pronounced, surging 25.4% to over €1.5 billion ($1.7b), according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). Led by Hennessy, which dominates the global market with a nearly 50% share, Cognac hit another all-time high in volume terms last year at more than 200 million bottles.

The U.S. is by far the world’s largest market for Cognac, accounting for half of the world’s bottled exports. Hennessy is also the runaway leader in the U.S. and together with second-ranked Remy Martin, comprises three-quarters of the market. Last year Hennessy became the largest-selling overall brandy in the U.S. for the first time, and was also the market’s top-selling spirit in retail dollar terms. But the fastest-growing Cognac brands on a percentage basis recently have been Bacardi-owned d’Usse, which has doubled its volume in just the last two years, and Pernod Ricard’s Martell, which has more than tripled in the past five years.

This year, Hennessy is expected to easily surpass the 4-million-case mark in the U.S. for the first time ever, according to Impact Databank. Cognac has also benefited from stocking-up due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as Hennessy case volumes in IRI channels gained 21.5% in the year-to-date ending June 14th, while dollar sales of Remy Martin and third-ranked Courvoisier increased 15.4% and 12.7%, respectively. Cognac volumes overall have risen 19.5% in the year-to-date in IRI channels. Barring new tariffs on the category, as have recently been threatened, total volume is on track to reach 7 million cases in the U.S. this year for the first time.—Natalia Razzo

U.S.Top 5 Cognac Brands (thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand Company 2018 2019 Percent
Change1
1 Hennessy Moët Hennessy USA 3,704 3,972 7.2%
2 Rémy Martin Rémy Cointreau USA 1,016 984 -3.2%
3 Courvoisier Beam Suntory 533 585 9.8%
4 D’ussé Bacardi USA 305 372 22.2%
5 Martell Pernod Ricard USA 212 233 10.0%
Total Top Five2 5,770 6,146 6.5%
1 Based on unrounded data.
2 Addition of columns may not agree do to rounding.Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020
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