The French Minister for Agrifood Industries, Guillaume Garot, received a delegation of US journalists on September 8 on the topic of Cognac spirits production in France and exports from France and consumption of the beloved beverage in the US.

©Min.Agri.Fr

©Min.Agri.Fr

The French Minister presented the origin of Cognac Protected Designation of Origin and discussed the US Cognac Market with the journalists.

More and more Americans are enjoying this native French beverage. In 2012, 3.9 million 9-liter cases were sold in the U.S – an increase of 5.3%; over 2005 volumes. Since 2002, total sold Cognac volumes have risen nearly 23%.

In 2006 Americans spent almost $2.6 billion on Cognac. The lion’s share of this amount, nearly $1.7 billion, went to purchase VS Cognacs.

Cognac is the perfect product for America’s continuing interest in Premium and Super Premium spirits. Given its international cache, all bottles Cognac fall into at least the Premium category and many are considered Super Premium. The designations VS, VSOP and XO are a guarantee of how long a bottle of Cognac has been aged. VS, or Very Special, means that the Cognac has been aged for at least two years, VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) four years and XO (Extra Old) for at least six years. Some Cognacs are aged for even longer periods of time.

Cognac Flickr

Cognac Flickr

As interest has expanded, many Cognac houses have also developed specialty Cognacs outside of the VS, VSOP and XO designations. These specialty Cognacs allow the Master Blender to feature some of the spirits’ more characteristic tastes.

While traditionnally served “neat,” Coganc has proven to be a very versatile spirit and is enjoyed today in such drinks as the popular Sidecar. Recently, flavored Cognacs have also been introduced to compliment the more standard variety.

To learn more:

Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac