Pernod Ricard, the French spirits conglomerate that owns the Martell cognac brand, reported its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 today. Pernod’s fiscal year ends June 30, so the most recent quarter ended represents its third quarter. Pernod reported over all revenues grew 3% in the quarter. Pernod sales in the U.S. grew 5% with Martell cognac sales growing by double digits. Pernod’s Asian sales grew 1% just. Pernod noted that Martell sales in China, however, were “back to good volume and growth.”
Martell’s sales growth in the most recent quarter ended March 31, underscores an overall trend in the cognac market the past twelve months of increasing sales across all product lines (V.S., V.S.O.P. and XO). The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) reported that cognac sales hit a record in 2016 and that sales growth continued into the first quarter of 2017. Hennessy and Rémy Martin also reported strong first quarter sales earlier this month.
Hennessy noted that rapid sales growth of its V.S. cognac had caused it to project that there may inventory shortages in that product later this year. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, Pernod noted that Martell will be focused on the launch Martell VS Single distillery, a very young cognac (aged just two years) as well as the continued roll out of its Blue Swift cognac, a VSOP cognac aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels.
Martell has been the second largest seller of cognac in recent years, with about 2 million 9 liter cases sold a year (ahead of Rémy Martin) but trailing Hennessy whose sales volume is more than Martell’s and Rémy Martin’s combined.