Blog: Chris MercerPerrier-Jouët at 200

Chris Mercer | 24 March 2011

Perrier-Jouët has reached the grand old age of 200, again exposing the myth that 'marketing' is a foreign word to the French.

For more than a hundred years, Perrier-Jouët has helped conversation between the powerful, the talented and the hangers-on to flow. Not to mention other forms of interaction - it is, afterall, known unofficially as the the lovers' Champagne.

This week, the Pernod Ricard-owned brand was at it again, welcoming all manner of glitz and glamour to celebrate its 200th birthday. To mark the occasion, the group has launched a limited edition fizz, named Bi-Centenaire (see what they did?), for EUR10,000 (US$14,000) per bottle.

At the launch party, Daniel Arsham unveiled a sculpture to mark the Bi-Centenaire. He was also on-hand to deliver some bizarre words on his creation. "It was this spirit of Perrier-Jouët continuity that I wanted to illustrate by creating a diptych that combined both the essence of Perrier-Jouët and my universe," said Arsham. Yeah, ok.

Perhaps Perrier-Jouët's most important contribution to the Champagne industry came in the mid-19th Century, when it is believed to have become the first Champagne house to introduce a dry, or 'Brut', Champagne. Today, of course, Brut Champagne is by far the norm for any discerning drinker.

More broadly, however, Perrier-Jouët is another example of marketing nous from France's wine industry. It may have taken the British to fully appreciate Champagne's fizz in its early days (despite all the talk about that Dom Perignon chap), but the French were quick to pounce on what they realised to be a good thing.

Only four years after being launched, Perrier-Jouët was already being exported to the UK and US. I've heard people say that wine marketing is a New World invention. Don't believe a word of it.

That said, you don't get to 200 without having something decent in the bottle. Bon Anniversaire P-J.


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