Armand de Brignac will launch its Demi-Sec Champagne in September

Armand de Brignac will launch its Demi-Sec Champagne in September

The CEO of Jay Z’s Champagne Armand de Brignac has said he hopes to double the size of the brand in the next three to five years.

Sebastien Besson took up the reins when the hip hop star made the purchase last November and he told just-drinks that sales are in "record-breaking territory", but other than stating the brand is now "well over 100,000 bottles", he wouldn’t talk numbers.

"We are in double-digit percentage growth right now," Besson said. "I do not believe that we have much of a ceiling at this early stage. We are still a very, very small brand in a very large market. The trade has been re-energised since the acquisition."

He said the consumer base hasn’t shifted since Jay Z took ownership. "We have a very consistent type of consumer. Generally our consumers are global - they might be in Paris or Singapore for business and in New York for vacation. Whether they are clubbing in Vegas or having business meetings at The Peninsula, that consumer can have a brand."

Besson said the Champagne is popular in terms of gifting because of its elaborate packaging. He said the brand hadn’t been affected by anti-extravagance laws in China but he admitted that it is "starting from a smaller base".

Armand de Brignac’s top market is the US, with the UK second. France is in the top ten and Besson said there was a lot of enthusiasm for the new owner in France.

"You never know how some markets, like France for example, may react to foreign acquisitions, but it has been well-received there and around the world. It has created some interesting media energy. France is growing rapidly."

Speaking of growth, Besson is proceeding with caution and admitted there were no markets in which he was currently looking to launch the Champagne. "I want to make sure we do not compromise when it comes to quality. I want to age our wines the right way and give them all the time our wine makers feel is needed - rather than selling faster and more.

"We have a lot of demand - at Vinexpo ten days ago, we had demands from just about anywhere and everywhere."

The company only produces non-vintage Champagnes and it is preparing to launch a Blanc de Noirs and a Demi-Sec in September. "We are trying to make them annual releases but the wine makers will tell us…" he added.

Besson said launching a vintage is an "interesting idea" but said that the company is driven by two factors: the best wine according to the wine makers and the question: "What is the new, modern, young consumer looking for?"

"I don’t think you can drive a luxury product like Armand de Brignac based purely on business considerations," he added.

When it comes to Jay Z’s involvement and his long-term plans for the brand, Besson said: "The strategy he has set for us is spelled out simply: this should be a brand that his grandkids will be proud of. You cannot make it much more long term than this."