For several decades, this French alcohol is very popular in the United States. Notably thanks to the Drake, Jay Z and other 50 Cent.
“I take a big glass of Hennessy, do you want to take one with me? Or again, “Everyone is singing now, pass the Courvoisier”.
These hymns to cognac come from one and the same world: that of American rap. The hip-hop community has a real passion for this liquor. And the case is not anecdotal. This popularity allows cognac to post double-digit increases, after a few crises, particularly in 2012 after Chinese purchases stopped.
Most (90%) of the production of cognac is exported and the United States is the first destination. Last August, the Alena zone accounted for 1,232.5 million euros in the cognac market. When Europe accounted for about 481 million euros.
A historical love
The love story between African-American culture and cognac does not date, however, from Busta Rhymes and the 2000s.
America would have discovered the rounded bottle during the Second World War, says American professor Emory Tolbert in the US magazine Slate: “The relationship of cognac with African-American consumers began when black soldiers stationed in the south West of France during the war discovered the drink, but the link between cognac producers and black consumers was probably reinforced by the arrival of artists and musicians like Josephine Baker, who filled the jazz clubs and blues during the inter-war years.
The popularity of cognac became more pronounced in 2001, when the industry was in a bad situation. The artist Busta Rhymes sings: “Give me the Henny (Hennessy), you can give me the Cree, you can pass me the Remi (Remy Martin), but pass me the Courvoisier”. The video clip of the piece constantly shows the bottle, each plan, close-up, fade … According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the title would have boosted sales of Courvoisier by 30%.
The brand becomes a symbol of wealth and refinement in African-American culture. In the 1990s, 60% to 80% of buyers in the United States would belong to the African-American community.
If the Courvoisier brand gives rise to interest in cognac in the 90s, we will no longer count the number of mentions made to Hennessy in the 2000s. The cognac brand LVMH group is cited in the main titles of rap of these Recent years: Drake in his hit “One Dance”: “That’s why I need a dance, got a Hennesy in my hand”, or Kanye West: “Cry, who needs sorry when there’s Hennesy? “.
The brand understood this and began to use in its advertisements the faces of great African-American artists, like Marvin Gaye or Erykah Badu. And when the hip-hop community was interested in the bottle, the brand decided to do the same, including providing a space of creation to grapheurs.Il must say that Hennessy was the first Cognac brand to launch its advertisements in magazines intended for a black readership like “Ebony” or “Jet”.
It therefore seems that the African-American and American population more generally, especially rappers and actors, do it well. Over the 2016-2017 period, the United States accounted for 78.7% of the cognac market, up 9%. Follows, far behind, Singapore with 23.6% of the market.
Rappers aware of the phenomenon have also embarked on the business, determined to take advantage of the popularity they have created themselves. Rapper Jay Z has been associated with a brand of cognac launched by Bacardi.
The rapper Ludacris has invested in the small brand Conjure and more recently, in May 2017, 50 Cent was seen visiting the city of Cognac. On his Instagram account, he posted a photo of him visiting a factory with the following statement: “Okay, that’s why the Cognac is so good.”