"Today, the whole world is in good spirits."
The second year of implementing our strategy to move upmarket is a success, helped by a favorable environment in our main markets.
The year 2016/2017 has proved to be an important stage in our transition to the world of luxury, with the opening of our first store. This store heralds a privileged relationship with our clients, who have become true specialists in search of exception.
Thanks to the remarkable commitment of our teams, our ranges have continued to develop upwards. Our product family has also expanded to include two new and very promising acquisitions in the area of single malts, which pave the way to further acquisitions. They are strictly consistent with our values in the long term: terroir, people and time.
Lastly, the strong recovery in the Asian market, combined with the solid performance of our brands in the United States and Africa, has supported our ambition: becoming the world leader in exceptional spirits.
“We focused on our brands: a strategy that was greatly rewarded.”
Over the 2016/2017 financial year, organic growth in the Rémy Cointreau Group’s brands amounted to 7.4%.
The Rémy Cointreau Group had an excellent 2016/2017…
Indeed, it was a rich and foundational year for the group’s future. The long-term strategy we have been implementing since last year is already bearing fruit. We have established solid foundations, and we were able to focus our efforts on our brands by withdrawing the distribution of a number of external brands, including champagne. In addition, the organic growth of our brands has far exceeded the Group’s overall growth: 7.4% for our brands, versus 4.7% overall.
What were the main efforts made to achieve this performance?
We re-launched Rémy Martin XO at the end of last year; LOUIS XIII enjoyed great press coverage with l’Odyssée d’un Roi, the creation of the Mathusalem and the opening of a store in Beijing; and the #1Orange1Tree social media buzz campaign was a huge success for Cointreau. The year was also very intense in terms of product launches, internal reorganization, changes in the distribution network, and the development of the client relationship.
A few words on the craze surrounding The Botanist?
Distilled in 2011 for the first time, this gin is perhaps the best in the world. Even the bottle is captivating, with the names of its 22 ingredients engraved in the glass. Barmen have adopted The Botanist and love to recommend it. Wherever it is found, this gin enjoys huge success–even in China, which in theory is not a gin market. It’s a real gem.
What is your frame of mind stepping into 2017/2018?
We are confident, and we will continue to build on our efforts of the last two years. With Rémy Martin and LOUIS XIII, we are going to move on to the second phase of the communication, buzz and PR campaign. Moreover, we will continue to refine our brand platform for Mount Gay, Cointreau, St-Rémy and Metaxa. In addition, we aim to invest in the development of our whiskey distilleries, which have strong potential. And as always, we will continue to learn as we go.
How do these efforts fit into the Group’s strategic vision: becoming the world leader in exceptional spirits?
Our strategy is beginning to show tangible results. Some brands are naturally more responsive than others, which require more time to adapt. But overall, the group is enjoying rising success due to a combination of strategic decisions: with respect to brands, markets and budgets, but also in terms of organization and human resources. It’s a full package.
How does digital technology fit into the group’s investments?
We have invested a large portion of our advertising budgets in digital communication, which no longer has to prove its effectiveness! It offers excellent coverage and lets us communicate directly with our clients at an attractive cost per contact. Accordingly, we are using digital technology for our viral marketing campaigns, our public relations and to engage in dialogue with our clients thanks to the databases. Lastly, e-commerce remains quite marginal at Group level, but this distribution channel has seen strong growth in China over the last two years.
What is the philosophy behind the acquisition of the Domaine des Hautes Glaces and Westland whiskey brands?
After the acquisition and success of our Scottish single malt brands, we wanted to develop an exceptional whiskey business unit. We were looking for unique and authentic brands. With Domaine des Hautes Glaces, we discovered a gem: each grain is cultivated on a specific terroir, after which it is malted, fermented and distilled separately, according to the principle of parcel-based batches. In a category all its own, Westland also inspired us through the pioneering and perfectionist spirit of its creators.
Would you say it’s just the beginning of a process, and that there will be more acquisitions in the future?
Yes, we are looking for opportunities. But our standards are very high and few proposals are in line with our values.
The medium-term Rémy Cointreau strategy is clear: To become the world leader in exceptional spirits.
Each brand has a specific task within the group portfolio, and must adapt its business model to this particular goal in terms of product, distribution and communications. Growth drivers vary among the brands, but all seek to reinforce the emotional bond with their customers. To achieve this, we must develop a direct, personal link through increased media and digital investment, educate during private events, led by our brand ambassadors, and foster loyalty through the development of specific schemes and CRM.
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