Martell VS Single Distillery launched in the US last month

Martell VS Single Distillery launched in the US last month

The head of marketing for dark spirits at Pernod Ricard's UK unit has called for more innovation around entry-level Cognac. 

Speaking at the UK launch of the firm's Martell VS Single Distillery expression yesterday, Magin Trewhella said the industry needs to work harder to attract new consumers. "Innovation at the top end does not do a great deal for recruitment," he said. "We as a business think innovation is required at the VS level." 

Trewhella said the strict rules around Cognac's production make innovation difficult. He compared the category to the gin boom in the UK. "In many ways Cognac has got left behind," he said. 

The new VS Single Distillery, which replaces the original VS, is aimed at a younger audience and designed to be used in mixed drinks. The product rolled out to the US market in March and will launch in the UK next month. The liquid comes from one distillery, rather than a range of sites. The Cognac is between two and five years old, Trewhella said. 

"Cognac is not a well-understood category," he added. "Anything that offers a clear opportunity to explain where and how it is made is really valuable." 

Trewhella said the VS Single Distillery launch was the first in a line of innovations for the category. 

Pernod Ricard's VS Single Distillery comes as companies such as Remy Cointreau withdraw from the VS segment, in an effort to focus on high-end spirits. 

Expert analysis

Global Cognac insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends

Global Cognac insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends

This edition of our global Cognac report contains the latest 2015 data from The IWSR combined with our unique analyst insights and brand interview extracts. Global Cognac volumes rose 3.9% in 2015, hi...read more