Cognac put in a solid second-half performance

Cognac put in a solid second-half performance

Cognac export sales skyrocketed in the second half of last year to put the category back on track after a difficult few years.

Shipment value growth in the full year accelerated from 5% in H1 to 21%, according to new figures from trade body the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). Volume growth also increased pace, up from a 4% jump in the first half of 2015 to 9% in the full year.

The BNIC said the rises, driven by continuing strength in North America and a rebound in East Asia, helped confirm Cognac's recovery.

The category has been hit hard by anti-extravagance measures in China that exposed Cognac makers' reliance on high-value sales in the country. In the past two years, companies have tried to spread distribution more evenly across markets, with some of the liquid previously earmarked for China redirected to the US.

Cognac shipments to North America in 2015 increased by 13% in volume and 39% in value, BNIC said, with a record number of bottles - 65.3m - reaching the US. Shipments to the "Far East" region, meanwhile, were up 8% in both volume and value. In the first half of the year, shipments to the region were down 4% in volumes and 11% in value.

Europe volumes growth was flat for the year, although value increased by 16%.

Meanwhile, South Africa and Australia combined were up in both volume (13%) and value (28%).