After a strong year of exports in 2014-2015, exports of French Cognac liquor are continuing their already strong season of exports over the 2015-2016 period. Cognac exports increased 4.9% by volume and 10.4% in value, equaling 173 million bottles for a value of 2.6 million euros ($2.9 million).
Helping push this large increase in exports is the NAFTA trade zone, composed of Canada, Mexico and the United States – with the U.S. showing the strongest figures. For the seventh year in a row, the NAFTA zone continued its growth with an increase of 14.9% in volume and 24.3% in value. The largest market of Cognac for the past 25 years, the United States has confirmed once again its attraction to the beverage, with 72 million bottles imported during the past season. While volume and value of exports in East Asia and Europe stabilized, the continued interest in Cognac in the United States keeps the overall growth record going.
Almost 98% of the Cognac produced in France is exported each season to more than 160 countries, with the United States taking the leading role. This most recent season of considerable growth confirms the place of Cognac as a major player in French wine and liquor exports and once again beats another record in terms of volume of Cognac exported and of its value.
In addition to North America, Europe and East Asia, Cognac is starting to see growth in new parts of the globe. Exports to Africa and the Caribbean increased 6.3% in volume and 7% in value. Taken together, these figures represent about 11 million bottles.
Exports to the United States represent a good mix of younger quality Cognacs (VS – “Very Special”) and superior quality Cognacs (VSOP – “Very Superior Old Pale”). VS quality Cognacs represent about half of all exports to the United States, and increased 9% in volume and 19.3% in value during the period. VSOP represented about 40% of the exports and increased 6.6% in value. While older quality Cognacs decreased slightly in volume, the higher price of the Cognacs exported actually lead to a 5.5% increase in value despite having less volume.