The wine and spirits arm of LVMH saw sales grow in 2019 – boosted by Hennessy Cognac, which passed the eight-million-case mark.
Profits for LVMH’s wine and spirits business grew by 6% to €1.7bn (US$1.83bn).
LVMH said that all regions “contributed in a balanced way to its growth”. For Cognac and spirits, there was “solid growth in the US” which saw a “normalisation in stock levels” at the end of the year. There was also “good momentum in China”, bolstered by the fourth quarter and Chinese New Year.
Organic sales growth of Hennessy Cognac was up 6%. The brand witnessed “solid momentum” in its key markets, the US, China and travel retail.
According to LVMH, Hennessy “crossed the threshold of eight million cases and continued to extend its lead” in the emerging markets of Africa and the Caribbean due to the increase in its flagship VS, VSOP and XO variants.
Hennessy is now the “world’s leading premium spirits brand by value”, LVMH said. The Hennessy XO – The Seven Worlds marketing campaign directed by Ridley Scott was also “one of the luxury industry’s most-watched digital campaigns”, with more than 120m views. This was said to have a “halo effect” on Hennessy.
Investment in Cognac
The brand continues to “invest to prepare for the future and ensure a constant level of excellence in its Cognacs”. The firm opened seven wine cellars in 2019 and built a new packaging line at its €100m (US$118m) Pont Neuf site, which opened in 2017.
The Glenmorangie Company “reinforced its position in the single malt category, driven by growing global demand for exceptional whiskies, and continued investing in the extension of its two distilleries”.
Volcán De Mi Tierra Tequila “achieved solid growth” in North America and is preparing to expand into new markets.
Woodinville Whiskey Company, which LVMH acquired in July 2017, also “continued its development in a number of US states”. The distillery has “prepared to increase its production to meet growing demand” and launched its Port-finished Bourbon.
The Clos 19 e-commerce platform continued to grow in the UK, Germany and the US.
In its outlook for the wine and spirits business, LVMH said: “In an uncertain business environment where global demand is nevertheless increasingly oriented toward quality, LVMH’s maisons have major strengths.
“They will rely on their highly dedicated staff, their innovative momentum and the strong appeal of their brands to continue securing and sustainably building their long-term future.”
LVMH also said that “increasing production capacity remains a top priority, along with a very active sourcing policy”. The firm will also “step up” its commitment to sustainability as part of its long-term vision.