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Cognac And Champagne Lead French Drinks Imports To Strong U.S. Rebound

February 11, 2022

Imports of French drinks into the U.S. bounced back in 2021, registering strong double-digit gains in shipment volume and value, after higher tariffs had caused severe drops the prior year. Cognac exports to the U.S. rose 11.3% and 24.1% by volume and value last year, respectively, according to French government agency BusinessFrance. French liqueur exports to the U.S. also soared last year (+51.8% by volume).

Tariffs on French wines and spirits were rolled back in June 2021, and after falling behind Provence earlier last year, Bordeaux regained its number-one ranking among the largest-selling wine origins from France. French white wines outperformed red wines in 2021, with robust double-digit growth registered across all appellations. Partially due to stiff competition from rosé wines from all other origins, Provence was the only major French appellation to export less to the U.S. last year. Even vermouth exports had a strong 2021, primarily due to the continued popularity of cocktails.

U.S. imports of Champagne also bounced back, after enduring a tough year in 2020. The two largest-selling Champagne brands—Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon—both registered double-digit increases last year. Veuve Clicquot is the number-one deluxe-priced wine brand overall in dollar terms in the U.S., according to Impact Databank. Non-Champagne sparkling wine imports from France also continued to do well in 2021, led by Luc Belaire from Sovereign Brands. Likewise, French beer and cider exports to the U.S. recorded sizable gains last year, according to BusinessFrance.—Juan Banaag

French Wine & Spirits Exports to the U.S. by Type
Category/Type 2021 Volume Percent
Change
2021 Value1 Percent
Change
Wine2
Bordeaux 2.74 24.3% €349.1 67.5%
Burgundy 1.55 29.3% €243.8 45.2%
Provence 1.85 -7.8% €113.9 -6.9%
Rhone 1.55 13.4% €108.4 22.2%
Loire 1.37 27.9% €99.2 36.7%
Total Still Wine 16.76 17.8% €1,219.3 33.6%
Champagne 2.85 67.6% €740.5 66.8%
Total Sparkling 6.06 64.1% €854.7 62.3%
Total Wine 22.83 27.3% €2,074.0 44.1%
Spirits3
Cognac 8.96 11.3% €1,639.0 24.1%
Liqueurs 2.02 51.8% €194.0 44.4%
Vodka 4.01 -14.5% €135.2 5.5%
Total Spirits 17.51 11.4% €2,099.0 24.1%
Millions of euros (one euro equals approximately $1.15)
Volume in millions of 9-liter cases.
Volume in millions of 9-liter cases converted at 80 proof.
Source: BusinessFrance and IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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