Cognac exports reached €3.2 billion in 2018

As reported by the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac), this represented the fourth year of consecutive growth for the spirit category, which has rebounded since austerity measures in China hit exports hard from 2013.

With nearly 98% of total production exported, the Cognac appellation continued to grow its export markets in 2018 and witnessed a growth of more than 3% in volume and 2% in value. 204.2 million bottles of cognac were exported in total throughout 2018, resulting in a turnover of €3.2bn.

Exports were driven by the expansion of the NAFTA zone (North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico in January 1994), and growing markets in the Far East.

A total of 90.6 million bottles were exported to NAFTA zones in 2018 (up 5.2% in volume and 0.7% in value), accounting for 44.4% of total exports. Of that total, the US remains Cognac’s largest market, with 87.4 million bottles exported to this market in 2018.

Exports to the Far East reached 60.1 million bottles, accounting for 29.4% of total exports (up 5.6% in volume and 3.7% in value). The biggest markets were China, which imported 24.2 million bottles, and Singapore with 27.2 million bottles.

In contrast, exports to European markets are in decline, down 5.3% in volume and 2.2% in value, with a total of 39.4 million bottles exported. This decline coincides with “difficult political and economic times on the continent,” the BNIC said.

Exports continue to grow in ‘Rest of the World’ markets, which includes South Africa, Vietnam, and the Caribbean, among others, which together saw volumes increase by 10.4% and value by 7.1%. These new areas of opportunity represent more than 6.9% of global volumes or nearly 14.1 million bottles.

By category, VS currently accounts for half of all Cognac shipments, with volumes up by 2.6%, followed by VSOP with nearly 40% of shipments, up by 3.5%. Values were relatively stable, declining by 0.3%.

The older categories currently represent 11.5% of shipments, and recorded volume growth of 7.5% and value growth of 6.3% in 2018.

Looking ahead to the coming year, and back on the 2018 harvest, total volume yields reached 126.8hl/ha, compared with 88.95 hl/ha for the previous harvest, with liquid put into cask between 970 and 980,000hl.

“This level of production would be greater than the region’s original business objectives which had been estimated at 902,000hl put in casks this year, a figure that many trade professionals feared would be too low to meet the demand,” the BNIC said.

“The growth of shipments during the year confirms the forecasts and Patrick Raguenaud, president of the BNIC, who said that ‘Cognac professionals remain confident in the future and continue with their ambition plans to meet the demands of the ever growing export markets’.”

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