By Matt Goldstein
While Western economies lag and struggle to recover, the economic rise of China is having a major impact on the world of wine and spirits. Already breaking their own records for importing wine from France and Napa Valley, the new middle class in China also has taste for Cognac, the pricey French brandy made from white wine grapes, and many times champagne grapes. The three major players in Cognac, Hennessy, Remy Martin & Courvoisier are enjoying a 20% increase in exports to China and Cognac overall sold 162.9 million bottles in 2011. That’s more than 1 bottle of Cognac for every 43 people on earth. The Far East region saw an overall increase of 14.4%.
Too bad for Hennessy that Kim Jong Il has passed because the former North Korean Dictator, or as we like to call him, the “Dear Leader,” was largest single purchaser of Hennessy Cognac and Cognac overall in the history of the world. Spending about $700,000 dollars a year on his favorite $630 bottle of Hennessy, the “Dear Leader” drank like a fish while his people starved to death.
Demand for Cognac in the West rose slightly but the numbers aren’t even worth mentioning and certainly not indicative of a boom. However, wine and craft beer have had major surges in the United States over the last couple years and show no signs of slowing down.
Source: LA Times, NPR