2020 Cognac Trend Predictions

Cognac continues to evolve globally given the interest in craft cocktails, particularly in pre-prohibition cocktails. With the United States being the first cognac market (102.4 million cognac bottles imported in 2019) it has diversified the many ways cognac can be consumed, from sipping it neat to using it as the base for trendy and originating cocktails. A recent study by Beverage Dynamics points to millennials spending up for premium spirits and cocktails. In the past 12 months, spirits priced $25 and up have increased in sales by 13.2%.

With millennials favoring the full imbibing experience—with an emphasis on ingredients — bartenders and stirrers are shifting with the trends.

COGNAC EDUCATORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY SHARED TRENDS THEY CURRENTLY SEE AND PREDICT FOR 2020

LESS DRINKING, HIGHER QUALITY

Dan Nicolaescu, Beverage Director of Brandy Library and Copper and Oak (New York, NY)

It is my experience that, generally speaking, people are drinking less but of higher quality. I see interest in trying cognac growing steadily, especially towards neat pours. It seems that preferences steer toward cognacs with a lighter wood influence but fairly well developed, in the 10-25 years range.

As far as cocktails go, I can envision bartenders focusing on quality by using small quantities of high-quality old cognac as an accent in a drink. It can provide unique flavors to the final product and is also more financially sensible.

MODERN MIXOLOGY SIMPLIFIED

Miguel F. Lancha, ThinkGoodGroup Cocktail Director (Washington, DC)

One trend that I have seen working with cognac is younger bartenders are showing an interest in wanting to learn about it, whether it’s at a bar training session or an industry seminar.

The interest in classic cocktails has been around for a while now, but many bartenders are going back to being more flexible and creative with cocktails. I see an opportunity for guests to be more exposed to cognac by trying drinks that combine it with cool techniques. Bartenders are continuing to modify the textures and structures of drink components by clarifying, carbonating, making a slushy, etc. They’re doing it in a way that’s not in your face or over the top, which is intriguing guests and exposing them up to Cognac in cocktails.

PRESENTATION WITH LEVITY

Kellie Thorn, Hugh Acheson Restaurants Beverage Director (Atlanta, GA)

While we are still having a hard time getting guests to order cognac on its own the way they do whiskey, we are seeing a lot of cognac cocktails sell.

I think that the key to reaching a younger audience is presenting the spirit and category with some levity. I obviously love the heritage and tradition behind these spirits, but we should approach it with a little irreverence.

Split your pour of cognac neat with some amaro, think of more tropical applications, add it to your spritz build, and in general make cognac feel like something that doesn’t have to have a lot of pomp and circumstance around it to enjoy it.

LOWER-ABV COCKTAILS

Joseph Erhmann of Elixir, Elixir to Go and Cocktail Ambassadors (San Francisco, CA)

There is an opportunity for cognac to take advantage of its great flavor intensity by mixing shorter pours (.5-1 ounce) with light mixers, like the multitude of uniquely flavored tonics to make low- ABV drinks. I particularly like a VSOP with Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic and expressed lemon oil or a young, fruity VS with a dry grapefruit soda like Q Grapefruit.

https://www.cognac.fr/

 

 

Michelin Introduces Sustainable Gastronomy Symbol

The Michelin Guide has unveiled a new green clover symbol in its France guide to indicate restaurants with “commendable environmental practices”.

First revealed at the launch of the Michelin Guide France 2020 on 27 January, the new icon has been allocated to over 50 sustainable restaurants.

Among them is three Michelin-starred Mirazur in Menton which has two hectares of “permaculture vegetable gardens” and also has a zero-waste policy.

The symbol can be given to chefs whose restaurants have been awarded the plate, bib gourmand or 1-3 stars.

Also given the accolade was Parisian Restaurant David Toutain, which collaborates with smallholdings and local craftsmen and matches its food orders with future bookings in order to minimize waste. In addition, Septime, also based in the French capital, was praised for its sustainable food sourcing and its practice of sending all bio-waste to a vermicomposting center to be recycled.

In 2019, the MICHELIN Guide handed out Sustainability Awards to recognize chefs across several destinations rated by the guide, including Angel Leon of three-MICHELIN-starred Aponiente in Spain, Enda McAvoy of one-starred Loam in Ireland, and Heidi Bjerkan of one-starred Credo in Norway.

Commenting on the launch, Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “Faced with constantly evolving challenges including production methods, sourcing and waste management, chefs are striving to improve their practices.

“Often, these initiatives combine the best of the knowledge of our predecessors with the creativity and innovation of chefs who are never short of ideas. The ambition of our approach is to amplify the scope of the good and ingenious practices of chefs by putting them in the spotlight.

“The ideas, methods, and know-how developed by these chefs will thus help raise awareness of an entire sector to its customers and the general population.”

The practices and achievements of those restaurants given a sustainability icon will be promoted via the Michelin Guide’s platforms throughout the year.

The list can be found here:

https://guide.michelin.com/mo/en/macau-region/macau/article/news-and-views/michelin-new-sustainable-gastronomy-icon

Glenfiddich Announces Canadian Artists in Residence Program for 2020

Glenfiddich celebrates 15 years of supporting Canadian art with the launch of its annual “Glenfiddich Artist in Residence Program” This program awards one artist a three-month residency in Dufftown, Scotland.

The award includes three-months income, travel costs, all-inclusive accommodations, materials and the opportunity to collaborate with globally celebrated artists.

“The Glenfiddich Artist in Residency program is dedicated to supporting and showcasing the extraordinary talent of Canadian artists on a global scale,” comments Rupy Singh, Senior National Brand Manager for Glenfiddich in Canada. “We are delighted to continue our support of the Canadian art community for the fifteenth year.”

Taking place for a consecutive three-months between May 1 and October 2020, the award provides the selected artist a monthly income of approximately $2,400 CAD per month, travel costs (with a set maximum), a materials allowance of approximately $9,850 CAD and a small, Scottish farmhouse and studio space on the Glenfiddich Distillery grounds in Scotland.

The selected artist is encouraged to use their time to create work that is directly influenced by the distillery and its surrounding environment, whether that be through the family history of Glenfiddich, the people and processes at the distillery, or some of the materials involved in the whisky distilling process, including copper, steam, water, malt, or barrels. The prize is valued at $20,000 CAD.

“The Glenfiddich Artist in Residence program encourages Canadian artists of all mediums to apply, and has historically hosted painters, sculptors, filmmakers, illustrators, animators, photographers, and performance artists,” comments Beth Havers, National Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich in Canada.

Open to artists who live and work in Canada, the five-part application process requires artists to outline how they would like to use their residency, what kind of work they envision creating, and how they will draw inspiration from the distillery environment.

Applicants are to outline the exploratory prospects of their work, whether that includes the accumulation of family heritage, the community of craftsmen who have been employed at the distillery for decades, the materials employed by craftsmen, or the artist’s wider personal development that will come over the inspiring three-month residency.

Criteria for submission includes a short project proposal, a current CV, a short artist statement, 5 to 15 images (or a three-minute video highlighting their artistic practice), a required questionnaire supplied by Glenfiddich, and applicants must be of legal drinking age in their province of residence.

Completed applications must be received by midnight eastern standard time on January 31, 2020.

Candidates will be selected by a jury of eight prominent artists in the Canadian art community and the winner will be notified on February 28, 2020.

For more information about the program, please visit:

https://www.glenfiddich.com/ca/explore/artists-in-residence-canada/

Powers Irish Whiskey Rebrands

Pernod Ricard targets “new generation” with a redesign of its Powers Irish whiskey brand.

The group’s Irish Distillers unit, which handles Powers, said last week that the design will “inspire a new generation” of Irish whiskey consumers. The overhaul includes a squatter bottle and a new label incorporating the diamond ‘P’ trademark, one of the first registered in Ireland.

Following the official launch of the rebranding Powers Gold Label in March, the update will be introduced across Powers Three Swallow and Powers John’s Lane from mid-2020 in the US and the rest of the world towards the end of the year. In Ireland, Powers Three Swallow and Powers John’s Lane will roll out in March. Powers Gold Label will be reviewed “in due course”, Irish Distillers said.

Conor McQuaid, CEO of the division, said: “Powers has been famous for its bold taste profile and character since the family distillery was established in 1791. We are excited to introduce this new look to the world and inspire a new generation with the unique history and personality of Powers.”

 

Washington to gain six new AVAs in 2020

Washington will be gaining six additional AVAs to its current fourteen, as part of the state’s fast-growing wine industry.

Doug Marshall, Senior Marketing Manager at Washington State Wine Commission is hopeful that the new AVAs will become a reality over the next six to 12 months. The region reached 1,000 wineries a few months ago, having grown from 200 in 2003.

“The growth has been pretty substantial, and we believe a lot of that growth comes down to quality,” Marshall told Harpers.  As an emerging region with only 20 to 30 years of winemaking experience, he added, Washington is now beginning to get into its stride, with a better understanding of its potential sub-regions, climate, and terroir.”

The new proposed AVAs include: The Burn, White Bluffs, Candy Mountain, Goose Gap, and Royal Slope.

“We know more about the region now, so we are understanding where boundaries are, recognizing regions… the new AVAs, and one of reasons we are seeing so many with six in the works, is that we are really honing our region in” states Marshall, and

“As people become more willing to explore and explore something they don’t know, [with] any wine region that is primarily premium, that gives us a leg up because that is our world,” he said by way of explaining the ongoing expansion of Washington’s winemaking scene.”

He further adds that “as a young region with just “20 to 30 years of winemaking tradition, Washington and its producers, including an influx of younger, second-generation winemakers, is now beginning to get more fully into its stride – understanding its potential sub-regions, soils, and climates.”