In conversation with Ian McLernon, CEO of Rémy Cointreau Americas

premium spirits

Ian McLernon current Rémy Cointreau Americas CEO provided his insight on the current state of the premium spirits market in the Americas in a short conversation with Joblux.

How is the market doing globally and how is Rémy Cointreau foreseeing the future ?

The Americas and specifically the US spirits market has evolved and performed well over the past 12 months and the trends that we saw previously have been accelerated, and we believe will continue in the future.

Premiumization and consumers trading up and seeking authenticity and provenance in their choice of spirits. We have seen this across our brand portfolio in N.America , notably with Remy Martin, Cointreau, The Botanist and Bruichladdich.

The at home cocktail occasion and usage with increased experimentation with cocktails, Cointreau has led the way in this respect, and we see tremendous growth ahead. Similarly we believe that the On Premise will rebound and we are working with our trade partners to re-image the on premise experience (bars and restaurants) of the future.

Convenience– e-commerce has grown exponentially with consumers opting for the convenience of shopping online, the convenience of 1 hour delivery in major cities in the US and the ability to learn more on the how to make great cocktails at home via online, video and social media. How to make the Original Margarita with Cointreau has been a phenomenal success, meeting the Master Blender at Mount Gay, the Head Distiller of Bruichladdich and the Founder of Westland have worked super well via Zoom. We believe that consumers are seeking more knowledge on how to enjoy spirits, create great cocktails and learn more about the authenticity and provenance of the respective brands. With Remy Martin we have seen tremendous consumer interest in learning more about the terroir of Cognac and the Remy Martin Fine Champagne story.

Those are heart warming news; you mentioned the premium spirits e-commerce has been thriving. Is that due mainly to the on premises limitations because of pandemic ?  

E-commerce for alcohol in the US pre pandemic was relatively small compared with other product categories, circa 1-2% of the spirits market. Today is circa 8-10% of the spirits category in the US.

Its convenient as players such as Drizly.com deliver within one hour thus the purchase can be rather impulsive.

Due to the nature of the premium spirits products, do you think customers for pemium spirits will transfer as easily to online ordering as for other other high end goods ?

Yes e-retail will continue to grow fast and the consensus in the industry is that it could be over 20% of the category within 5 years in the US.

Can you tell us a bit more about Rémy Cointreau Americas strategy for gaining online customers ?

We are investing in visibility and virtual events on all of the major online platforms, Drizly, Reserve Bar being the main marketplaces, along with supporting our major retailers who are also growing their online stores at a rapid pace. We aim to provide added value content to our partners that helps the consumers learn more about the category, how to enjoy our products at home, and share an inspiration from the terroir and people of our brands.

What is the best selling brand in the Americas among Rémy Cointreau portfolio ?

Remy Martin 1738 and Cointreau are the fastest growing brands in our portfolio.

Rémy Martin 1738 price point starts roughly from 50 dollars and far up. Which Cognac price tag is the fastest growing in sales in the Americas ?

The super-premium spirits segment (above $35) has grown strongly in the US, however the fastest growth is at the $50+ price point where 1738 has performed exceptionally well, and helped recruit new consumers into cognac from brown spirits.

Ian McLernon is the President & CEO of Rémy Cointreau Americas, a member of the Executive Committee of Rémy Cointreau Group. With experience across Asia, Europe and Americas, notably with Rémy Cointreau since 2017, and previously at LVMH.

Ian Mclernon
Ian McLernon – CEO Rémy Cointreau Americas

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