Brandy and Cognac: Where Are They Now?

Jan. 23, 2019

All About Brandy and Cognac header


Among the many contributions France has made to popular culture—Voltaire, Renoir, mimes—Cognac stands out as one of the most beloved. The uniquely French spirit, a type of brandy produced under strict guidelines and exclusively in the Cognac region of France, has captured the hearts and minds of both haute cuisine connoisseurs and hip-hop entrepreneurs, and it continues to win over consumers worldwide.

As Cognac maintains its place of honor among lovers of fine spirits, craft brandies are also experiencing a renewed surge of popularity, providing bartenders and mixologists with the opportunity to rethink the role of this fruited spirits category in cocktail culture.

The emergence of the craft spirits movement, across all categories, is bringing a revitalization to craft brandies. 

“Mixology bars are utilizing the spirit in ways that accentuate the spirit’s unique mixability,” said Herb Stanford, Account Development Specialist for Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania. “Pear and apple brandies are becoming a popular spirit base for craft cocktails, while the traditional grape-based brandy has also found its way onto the menu in high-end cocktail bars.”

According to analysis from IWSR, craft brandy increased 25.9% by volume in 2017, with this category seeing a significant rise in number of active craft brands.

Brandy’s cousin, Cognac, is also enjoying the spotlight. According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), exports of Cognac have increased for the fourth consecutive year, hitting record numbers in both volume and value.

“Cognacs are increasingly being used to put a new spin on classic cocktails that traditionally feature bourbon, whiskey and Scotch,” Stanford said. “They can be used to make Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Godfathers. It’s also important to note that while all Cognac is considered to be brandy, not all brandy is considered to be Cognac. The classification of Cognac can only be assigned to brandy that is made in the region of Cognac, France.”

The popularity of both brandy and Cognac has steadily increased over the years, due not only to its rich flavor profile, but also its rich history, traditions and influence in pop culture.

“Cognac has had a huge impact in pop culture, and particularly in urban culture,” Stanford said. “Hip-hop and R&B artists frequently mention popular brands in their music which largely targets this demographic. Commercials, event sponsorships, celebrity endorsements and product placements are all common tactics used by Cognac brands.”

Be sure you’re getting in on this Cognac and brandy boom.



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