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China's thirst for top-end Cognac is returning, according to Pernod Ricard's luxury & customer relationship management director. 

Tareef Shawa has been at Pernod Ricard since 2014

Tareef Shawa has been at Pernod Ricard since 2014

Speaking to just-drinks earlier this week, Tareef Shawa said Chinese consumers are still interested in luxury goods, including Cognac and whisky. However he said that following anti-extravagance measures in China, consumption occasions had altered in the country.

"We are seeing recovery in China and all of Asia," Shawa told just-drinks earlier this week. "The appetite didn't go away for luxury or for hospitality, it changed in its format. We are seeing smaller banquets, smaller gatherings. We are seeing a recovery in the higher qualities of Cognac and in whisky, which is encouraging."

Shawa said there had been a need for the industry to go "back to basics" in educating the country's spirits consumers.

"As an industry, it's our responsibility in any emerging economy, like China was or Brazil is now, or in emerging consumer groups such as Millennials, to help educate and accompany them in these categories," he said. "Otherwise, it can be a flavour of the month.

"I think we saw that in Asia. We didn't take the time as an industry to educate about Cognac. It was more a sign of success, without a lot of depth. Now, I think we are going back to basics with whisky and with Cognac to help the consumer feel educated and feel less intimidated."

To read the full just-drinks interview with Shawa, click here


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