Cognac exports top EUR2bn in 2011, says BNIC

Cognac exports top EUR2bn in 2011, says BNIC

Cognac exports broke the EUR2bn (US$2.6bn) barrier for the first time in 2011, according to figures from trade body BNIC, driven mainly by China's thirst for the premium French spirit.

Five bottles of Cognac were exported every second last year, the BNIC said this week. Export volumes reached 162.9m bottles for the 12 months to the end of December, up by 6.4% on 2010 and topping the record of 158m bottles set in 2007.

However, value sales performed even more strongly, rising by 7.5% to a record EUR2bn. The BNIC labelled the performance as "remarkable".

China's thirst for high-end Cognacs, the XO variant in particular, drove the sector's performance in 2011. Global sales of XO Cognac increased by 15% for the year.

The Far East accounted for nearly 36% of all Cognac exports by volume in 2011, increasing its share by 14% on 2010. Exports to China rose by 20% in volume, to 22.6m bottles. 

In November, analyst group Sanford Bernstein said that China's Cognac boom showed no sign of slowing. "[Pernod Ricard's] Martell is likely to continue to be the fastest grower because it has the highest exposure to high growth/XO China," it said.

For a just-drinks graphic of the top ten Cognac markets by volume, click here.