MARKETING/DESIGN/CONSUMER TRENDS/INSPIRATIONS Cognac & Brandy News for Consumers & Industry Experts
The cognac region is famous for its brandy. However, it plays a major role in creating the future mega brands which will serve the spirit industry. Some of these future will have cognac associated but many will only infuse talents and know-how. Here are some examples.
Why is G’Vine an outstanding innovation? Because they are using distillation knowledge to make a superior product using a premium source. They are not the only one to be successful in Cognac to make GIN. Citadelle Gin is another brand of gin made in Cognac using a more traditional neutral grain base.
Jean-Marc XO Vodka and X-Rated Liqueur
Jean-Marc XO Vodka (www.jmxo.com) is a premium vodka distilled in the Cognac region of France by Jean-Marc Daucourt and owned by the Campari Group (www.camparigroup.com).
X-Rated (www.xratedfusion.com) was launched in 2004 in the USA by award-winning spirits creator Jean-Marc Daucourt and Todd Martin, the former Allied Domecq North America President, who are the principal owners of the brand. X-Rated is also now owned by Campari Group.
Why are Jean-Marc Vodka and X-Rated Liqueur outstanding innovations? Because Jean-Marc Vodka was one of the first Ultra premium vodka and X-Rated was among the first to make it ‘pink’ for the girls.
The concept is to make Vodka with grapes, it is using grapes from the region of Cognac (ugni blanc) and from the region of Gaillac, north of the Pyrenees (mauzac blanc).
Cîroc (www.ciroc.com) is considered a vodka because they distill the product at 96% ABV and do not age it. The brand belongs to DIAGEO (www.diageo.com) one the largest spirits group in the world with other iconic brands such as Johnny Walker. Since 2007, Sean “Diddy” Combs became the face of the brand and sales have dramatically increased.
Why was Cîroc an outstanding innovation? Because it used grapes to make vodka using excess inventory, and it did not pay a celebrity but gave a stake in the company to improve performance.
Monteru Single Brandy
Monteru (www.monteru.fr) was inspired by the single varietal wines which took by surprise the traditional blending wine production from Europe. The concept is simple. Making brandy from single selected grape varietals. The end result is a delightful brown spirit for wine aficionados. Monteru comes in 4 varietals including Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot and Riesling. In 2011, Monteru was awarded the title of double gold medal and “best in Show” at the ISW (Internationaler Spirituosen Wettbewerb) in Germany (www.spirits-award.com) and was recognized as one of the best innovation in the world for spirits by the Tasting Panel Magazine (www.tastingpanelmag.com).
Why is Monteru an outstanding innovation? Because it does not dilute the know how of cognac making but instead magnifies it by using it for the sake of creating something like a ‘single malt’ applied to the brandy, with the most familiar and popular grapes in the world. Bridging the impossible gap between ‘wine’ and ‘spirit’ geeks. A new category is born made of a cross over identity.
Hpnotiq liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made from fruit juices, vodka and cognac.
It was created in New York in 2001, and sold to Heaven Hill Distilleries (www.heavenhill.com) in 2003. It is 17% ABV. It started as a urban drink but it is now marketed as a women drink.
Why is Hpnotiq an outstanding innovation? Because it serves various markets using salient characteristics. Give what the customers want.
Monsieur Gucci is regularly promoting the brand in the US. The fashion icon signs every single bottle of the collection.
The company behind these bottles is Emperor’s Brand: They are present on the American spirits market since 2007, and introduced premium vodkas to the market: Emperor, Versailles, Winter Palace and Imperial Exclusive.
Why is Cognac Gucci an outstanding innovation? Because it shows cognac is a true ‘luxury’ as much a luxury watch or luxury suit. Next Cognac Rolex or Cognac Chanel or Cognac Bentley, etc.
This brand was very visionary when in 1984 it was introduced in the USA to target the urban audience. A joint-venture between a French supplier and Kobrand Corporation, a reputable importer/distributeur in the USA.
Why is Alizé an outstanding innovation? Because it was among the first cognac brand to focus on the urban market.
Belle de Brillet Poire Williams
Liqueur is an original blend of cognac from the Cognac Brillet and the essence of Williams Pears (Poires Williams). This liqueur is the fruit of a perfect blend of very flavorful “Poire Williams” produced mainly in the east of France, fine Brillet Cognac Eau de Vie from the heart of the Cognac region, and a “special plus,” an ingredient whose secret is cautiously guarded by Maison Brillet.
Why is Belle de Brillet an outstanding innovation? Because pears and cognac is a brillant idea and they are the best at doing it.
Brenne is a Single Malt Whisky that is being harvested, distilled, matured and bottled in the Cognac area. According to the makers, this Whisky is smooth, approachable and contains a hint of fruit. It contains spice notes from the malted barley and is balanced with the sweetness from Cognac soaked oak barrels.
Why is Brenne an outstanding innovation? Because it simply used the cognac know how to make another brown spirit. ‘Qui peut le plus peut le moins’. Brenne is not the only whisky made in Cognac, Bastille 1789 is also from Daucourt and is very good too.
Grey Goose is a premium brand vodka produced in Cognac, France. It was originally founded by Sidney Frank before it was sold to Bacardi (www.bacardi.com)in 2004. François Thibault (H. Mounier) developed the original recipe for the vodka in Cognac, and he is also responsible for Jacques Cardin Cognac still in Didney Frank’s portfolio.
Grey Goose (www.greygoose.com) was created as an audacious surprise to counter balance the vodka industry with a ‘premium’ vodka. Hence, it was made in France. About 40% of premium vodkas are now made in France following in the footsteps of Grey Goose. Grey Goose is perhaps the most emblematic of Cognac’s innovation not related to cognac.
Why is Grey Goose an outstanding innovation? Because it sensed the opportunity for premium vodka and made symbol of itself.
In conclusion, if someone asks: “what is the difference with Cognac and Armagnac and Scotch and Tequila and etc.?”
They are many differences but one of them is the innovations and creativity embedded in the region that has no match in the world.