We’re trying to make Cognac relevant to Indian youth

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Interview | Xavier Desaulles, regional managing director, Southeast Asia, West Asia & India, Rémy Cointreau Group

FOR the France-based €800 million Rémy Cointreau Group, a global leader in ultra-premium spirits and champagnes, the large and growing young population has made India one of its thrust markets. Desaulles tells Ritwik Mukherjee about Rémy Cointreau’s journey so far in India and its strategy. Excerpts:

Where does India stand in terms of volume and importance?

Rémy has been in India a little over three years, and the focus has been on increasing the availability and strengthening our foothold in the key on and off premise outlets. With sound macroeconomic projections, strong emerging middle class and one of the youngest populations in the world, India is definitely a priority for Rémy Cointreau in the Asia Pacific region.

How big is India’s champagne market?

The Indian champagne volume grew from around 17,000 cases in 2008 to around 25,000 cases in 2012, with CAGR 08-12 at 10.8 per cent.

What is Rémy Cointreau’s market share? And where do you see yourself in the next one to two years?

We don’t comment on market share.

What is current brand portfolio in India?

At present, the brands in our portfolio include ‘King of Cognac’ Louis XIII, Remy Martin, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum, Metaxa, St Remy and Piper-Heidsieck.

Would you like to bring in the entire range from your global stable to India? What are your plans in this regard?

With the evolving consumer dynamics and increased appetite of Indians towards experiments there is immense prospects for growth. There is a lot of exciting work going on, details of which we shall share soon.

What would be your thrust, going forward?

Strong relations with our channel partners have been — and will continue — to be the key to our growth in the market.

What are your marketing and distribution plans in India? Any manufacturing plans?

As for brand building, our approach is very focused. For instance, Louis XIII is a 100-year-old Cognac. To build its image, we organise intimate dinners with our consumers, making them experience a moment in history.

We had also launched limited edition of Louis Rare Cask 42.6 this year in Udaipur. With Rémy Martin VSOP, we are trying to break the perception of cognac as a winter drink.

We are also trying to make cognac relevant to the youth by adapting it to their consumption style. To achieve this, we are promoting the concept of chilled cognac shots with the Rémy Iceboxx — a unique machine that dispenses the cognac in a shot glass at -18ºC — that we’ve installed in select bars in some Indian cities.

Are you targeting only on the ultra premium segment or do you eventually plan to get into other segments as well?

Our products are of high quality, but as dynamics evolve, the strategy for our brands will also evolve to stay in touch with the consumers’ needs.


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