The Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac (BNIC) has reported that exports of the alcoholic drink Cognac were up by three per cent during 2018, with value having increased by two per cent to €3.2 billion.
This represents the fourth consecutive year of growth and could be good news for manufacturers of every size, since 98 per cent of the Cognac made is exported.
Among the best-performing regions was the 'new Nafta zone' - the US, Canada and Mexico - with 87.4 million bottles shipped to America alone.
Elsewhere, the Far East imported 5.6 per cent more bottles than the previous year, with China, Hong Kong and Singapore spearheading that region's growth.
However, the BNIC said the European market for Cognac had been hit by difficult political and economic times, which resulted in declines in exports of 5.3 per cent in volume and 2.2 per cent in value.
Going forward, the organization said it expects South Africa, Vietnam and the Caribbean to be areas with strong potential for growth.
"Cognac professionals remain confident in the future and continue with their ambitious plans to meet the demands of the ever-growing export markets," said president Patrick Raguenaud.
It is estimated that 970,000 to 980,000 hectolitres of pure alcohol will be put into casks for Cognac this year, up from the original projection of 902,000 hectolitres due to an improved harvest.
According to a recent report from just-drinks and the International Wines and Spirit Record, Cognac volumes could grow to more than 17 million cases by 2021, supported by emerging markets such as Russia and India.