Perhaps it was just the sour economy, or maybe years of undifferentiated marketing have finally come home to roost. Maybe both. Whatever the cause, what was a very good year for Domestic Brandy turned out to be a very bad one for Cognac.
The Brandy & Cognac category reversed its growth trend in 2008 as total volume decreased -0.8%. In this category, the products’ use as mixers and their premium nature led to the slowed growth.
Only one of the three segments that make up the category reported gains in sales last year. Domestic Brandy continued the rise that began in 1999, gaining 3.7%. The gain in the segment was led by the top four leading brands with E&J (+4.6%), Paul Masson (+4.6%), Christian Brothers (+2.6%) and Korbel (+4.7%) all posting strong results for the category.
Last year was not as favorable for the Imported Brandy (-3.2%) and Cognac segments in the U.S. (-7.3%). The decline was led by the two top brands with Hennessy and Remy Martin losing 6.0% and 7.1%, respectively. Similarly, the Imported Brandy segment declined 3.2%; leaders Raynal remained flat and Presidente lost 0.6%, the fourth consecutive year of declines for the brand.