Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Farming News .

France's unloved tipples hope to match cognac's Asia boom
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) May 30, 2014

After cognac's transformation into a Chinese status symbol, its lesser-known French cousins armagnac and calvados are hoping to establish themselves in lucrative Asian markets as demand wanes at home.

Cognac currently accounts for 67 percent of French spirit exports, but rival digestifs and eaux-de-vie are seeking to seize more of that market and offset slumping domestic sales as France's population becomes increasingly abstemious.

Calvados producer Didier Bedu hopes to convince customers with his bucolic vision of 'le terroir', the concept of earth and environment that is accorded near-mythic status in French agriculture.

"What we have to sell is romanticism, France, authenticity," said Bedu at Hong Kong's major wine and spirits fair, Vinexpo, where producers from around the world come to cultivate Asian demand.

"To the Chinese, we talk horses and casinos, everything that Normandy has to offer, as the essence of calvados," said Bedu, of the famous Chateau du Breuil distillery and president of trade group l'Interprofession des Appellations Cidricoles (IDAC).

Calvados, a brandy made from apples in northwestern France, and armagnac, distilled from grapes in the southwest, belong to a category of spirits known as "eaux-de-vie".

Armagnac is usually taken neat, whereas calvados can either be drunk with ice, or slightly warmed, or even mixed into a cocktail or coffee.

Each represented just one percent of the value of spirit exports in 2013, but even those tiny slices of the pie generated 45 million euros ($60 million) for manufacturers.

Cognac, by contrast, is already well established as a prestigious drink in China, frequently used to flaunt status and toast business deals.

Producers hope they can harness the momentum generated by cognac to build popularity with Asia's connoisseurs, and the lesser-known varieties have already gained a following in some countries in the region.

- 'Crisis' at home -

J Goudoulin armagnacs launched four years ago in Asia and are now exported to Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

From small beginnings in 1935 on a farm in a pretty Gascony valley, the brand now registers 800,000 euros (more than a million US dollars) in annual turnover -- 40 percent of that is generated abroad, 10 percent in Asia.

"The consumption of spirits has fallen away in France," said Catherine Bouteloup, the brand's commercial director, a phenomenon driven by mounting health concerns which also also affecting domestic wine sales.

"The move into exports was a response to that crisis."

And the market is growing, even though neither armagnac nor calvados have the marketing budget to promote themselves to distributors, let alone consumers.

"Armagnacs remain unknown to the general public although we note a positive trend," says Cyril Pilard, director of the company Wine Selections which represents Francis Darroze armagnacs in China.

Prospects for growth are huge -- 97 percent of the cognac produced in France is sold abroad, while currently 57 percent of the nation's armagnac and calvados goes overseas.

China is now the largest importer of armagnac, ahead of Britain, while calvados is popular with Germans, Belgians and Scandinavians.

But while cognac is produced on a grand scale, the lesser-known digestifs are manufactured in areas with limited production capacity. France produces 160 million bottles of cognac each year, against six million for each of the other two spirits.

Armagnac has been given a boost by the establishment in China of dedicated "Maison et comptoirs" showrooms in 2013, which showcase the lifestyles of the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees regions.

One such "maison" opened in Wuhan in July last year, another will open in Chengdu in 2014, and further locations are planned in Beijing and Shanghai in the medium term, said Julien Layrisse, who manages the project in China.

Other Chinese enthusiasts are making the trip to France to find out first-hand the history and method behind the production of French spirits.

"Regularly hosting Chinese visitors allows us to share the know-how and heritage behind the production of armagnac," says Jacques Hauller of the Gensac estate in the Gers region.

A Chinese manager now oversees exports to Asia from the chateau, says Hauller.

"This allows us to develop a good approach in terms of countering problems specific to culture, language, traditions, marketing," he said.


Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

US city drops threat to close 'smelly' hot sauce factory
Los Angeles (AFP) May 29, 2014
A California city has dropped its threat to close a factory that makes famed Sriracha hot sauce, after months of haggling over residents' complaints about pungent smells. The city of Irwindale outside Los Angeles took legal action in October to close Huy Fong Food's facility, saying the company should be forced to improve odor-filtering measures. In November, a judge ordered the hot sauc ... read more

Sentinel-1 aids Balkan flood relief

Japan launches land observing satellite

Airbus partners with BAE for radar satellite imagery

Japan launches new satellite to survey disasters

Chinese army regulates sat nav use

Beidou to help safeguard fishermen on high seas

China's domestic navigation system guides Pakistan

China's BeiDou system standard ratified by IMO

Six Philippine forest workers kidnapped: military

Philippine rebels free kidnapped forest workers

Vines choke a forest's ability to capture carbon

International standards reducing insect stowaways in wood packaging material

Microalgae Capable Of Assimilating The Ammonium From Agri-Food Waste

Green and yellow - straw from oilseed as a new source of biofuels

EU study assesses turning CO2 into methanol for use in transport

New, fossil-fuel-free process makes biodiesel sustainable

UK dominates Europe large scale PV activity in 2014

Rare chemical phenomenon used to harvest solar energy

Solar panel manufacturing is greener in Europe than China

JCAP stabilizes common semiconductors for solar fuels generation

New York coast could be site of new wind farms, U.S. government says

A new concept to improve power production performance of wind turbines in a wind farm

Scottish energy sector gets a bit greener with RWE Innogy project

German energy company RWE Innogy starts turbine installation at mega wind project

China consumes almost as much coal as the rest of world combined

China coal mine death toll rises to 20: report

Rescuers race to save 22 trapped coal miners in China: Xinhua

U.K. Coal may close two deep mines

Six 'cult' members held over China McDonald's death

Hollywood hosts China's Huading Film Awards

Tiananmen protest leaders, in US, blast China ahead of anniversary

China seeks to wipe Tiananmen from popular memory

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.