MARKETING/DESIGN/CONSUMER TRENDS/INSPIRATIONS Cognac & Brandy News for Consumers & Industry Experts


A recent article from CNBC has caught my attention as it was discussing the growing success of certain liquor companies in particular a cognac company named CAMUS. I very much liked the quotes from Pierre Pringuet that states that in essence consumers do not know what they want until they see it. When I was a professor at ESSEC Business School in Paris, this conceptual subject was a large part of my program. When you have a CEO who understand this so clearly it makes for a better business for sure. Perhaps he went to ESSEC!

“The consumer is curious, but at the same time, they will not imagine (by) themselves what they want. It is our duty as a producer to propose innovation,” Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet recently told CNBC.

Further, in this article the author insists on the importance of innovation for companies to thrive. This concept of innovation was central to Joseph Schumpeter  ‘s theories of ‘creative destruction’ and ‘innovation’ for entrepreneurship in 1934. It is still today. In future postings, I will discuss what makes cognac a Very Special product, review cognac innovations, and describe the importance of premiumization in the liquor industry.

Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor makes an important contribution also when discussing innovation as a moderator of growth in the cognac market. This is very unusual as cognac is perceived by many as a drink of the past, full of traditions and rituals. In fact, most people do not know that cognac is now mostly consumed by non-european, under 40 years old and who may not belong to the ‘haves’.

Another interesting point from this article is the specificity for cognac businesses to require long-term focused people. In today’s world of corporate business it is difficult for non-familly owned organization to work for the benefits of the next generation. This corporate myopia is often what differentiate among cognac houses.

CNBC article “…  Innovation is also a driving force behind the success of fifth generation family-owned Camus Cognac.

Camus recently released the first and only Cognac from Ile de Re, an island off the west coast of France that carries the Cognac designation of the mainland.

Ile de Re has three variations: Ile de Re Fine Island, Double Matured, and Cliffside Cellar, which each “highlight the unexpected aromas, flavors and personalities distinctive to the island of Ile de Re.”

Camus Ile de Re Cognacs

Camus Ile de Re Cognacs

While hoping to provide variety and capture the attention of cognac drinkers, the Ile de Rey Line highlights the salty, seaside notes that may also appeal to Scotch drinkers.

For Cyril Camus, president of the company, the Ile de Rey line is an approach designed to breathe some new life in a category many feared was getting stale.

“In the 1980’s and 1990’s when cognac was growing internationally, a lot of companies tried to produce blends that would satisfy the highest number of consumers around the world,” he said. “So the cognacs of that era converge into something that was quite similar to each other.”

Ile de Rey hopes to recapture the attention of the lapsed cognac drinker, while at the same time attracting new drinkers to the cognac category.

“We’ve had a very positive reaction from consumers who were bored with the category as well as from brown spirit drinkers that are open to different tastes,” Camus continued.

Camus credits being family-owned with allowing the company to take a long-term approach.

“We can concentrate on doing what we think is right, even if it’s not right in the short term,” said Camus. “Our notion of time is quite different than the others in the industry and frankly what we are seeing that makes the success of the company now are all projects that were started 15 years ago when the market trends were not those we know today.”

The move is a vindication of sorts for Camus, which has resisted pressure to sell out to a larger entity. As consolidation has become the norm with the liquor industry, Camus said, the company was often told it would need to become part of a larger group in order to gain access to the market or advertising power.

“I grew up in an environment where people were telling me or my father that we were pretty stupid not to sell the company. We were told that there was no future for an independent company,” he said. “But we stuck to our guns and we see today that there is another business model and that is not being part of a large conglomerate and is remaining independent and quality driven, and that it works.” … ” CNBC article.

 Source: CNBC, Large or Small, Innovation Driving Liquor Growth – 26th Sept. 2012

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This entry was posted on October 3, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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