Brandy Snaps

10 January, 2014

Tremendous growth

GB’s key brandy brands are Soberano, Byass and Lepanto and he claims “tremendous growth” in international markets. For Soberano, total volume has seen an 8% increase in international markets and value is up 13%, says Bertino. “In the past 12 months we have seen double-digit growth in Slovakia, Lithuania and Russia. Lepanto has seen great performance in a number of markets in that year with volume and value grown also in double digits in Germany, US, Lithuania, UK, Slovakia and Canada. 

“Mexico is a very important market for us and brandy has been in the Mexican market for decades, forming part of our history given the strong Spanish links with the country. In 2003 the total consumption of brandy was at 5 million cases and today has dropped to 3 million cases,” he says.

Bertino sums up brandy’s typical consumer and usage: “Generally, the consumer tends to have the same profile in most international markets – male, 40-plus with high income, although in some Nordic countries and in the UK anecdotally, women are beginning to consume more.

“Generally brandy is drunk in the traditional way, however in some markets it is served over ice – most notably in Scandinavian markets. In Mexico it is mixed with cola or ginger ale but not used in cocktails as yet. There is some evidence that brandy is being used more in cocktails in the markets where cocktails are popular, such as the States and the UK,” he says.

“We are combating the traditional service methods of brandy by looking for food and wine-matching opportunities and we have seen great acceptance in Spain and Mexico when matching top-end brandies, such as Lepanto, with chocolate, with cigars and where we have broken new ground is matching Lepanto with cheese,” says Bertino.

Pernod Ricard recently launched premium Solera Reserva Spanish brandy Domecq 1820 to “refresh and draw new consumers to the category”.

The company values the total brandy category at around £190 million and says it is dominated by French brands. These are showing a value decline, while Pernod research shows that non-French brandies are showing a value growth of 14%.

Domecq 1820 is produced and aged for two years in American oak in Malaga. It is targeted at older men aged 50-plus. 

“Recent research among our 50 to 67-year-old ABC1 target consumers shows they are ready to welcome a new brandy from Spain, merging tradition and expertise with modern cues,” says Vicky Wood, Pernod Ricard UK’s marketing head.

Returning to French brandy, Sauvage says Bardinet “will present an innovation in January, developed with the expertise of our cellarmaster, Bénédicte Bertet, and aged in our own cellars near Bordeaux, which will highlight the quality and the potential of this category.”

Oliver Dickson, senior brand manager at William Grant’s UK distributor, First Drinks, looks after the Three Barrels, the number one French brandy brand in the UK.

He says: “The total brandy category in the on-trade is currently in growth, up 11.6%, and Three Barrels is growing at 1.5% (CGA, total UK trade). In the off-trade, brandy is not performing as well but remains in growth, up 0.7%.

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