The Resurgence of Brandy

Brandy is exploding in the American market. It may not get the popular-press attention and cultural buzz that other spirits do, but the numbers don’t lie.

It made up 5.7 percent of the U.S. spirits market in 2015 - more than gin, scotch and blended whiskey. Between 2002 and 2015, super premium bottlings rocketed up by 226.9%, and premium by a mind-boggling 340.5%, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

This growth is attributable to a number of different causes, most importantly the consumers preference in artisanal, craft spirits rather than industrial, and a renewed appreciation for classic spirits that are such an important part of American cocktail culture. As a matter of fact, a lot of the classics were originally brandy cocktails, like the Sazerac, Sidecar,  and Mint Julep.

With bars and restaurants working to revive the classics, brandy is often a key ingredient that for too long had been overlooked, it was inevitable that brandy would be the subject of a resurgence.  

Despite its meteoric growth, Brandy is not a well known spirits category, with the exception of Cognac, consumers are now discovering other styles of Brandy like Armagnac, long considered a standout in the category. The range in Armagnac is quite astonishing and exciting. Crafted with a sense of history and legacy and produced by family companies, those flavors that well-crafted Armagnac possesses in such abundance make it excellent as a spirit that rewards being enjoyed on its own, too.

That reputation as a high-end sipping spirit, however, make consumers think that one has to know about Brandy to drink it, be a 40 year + man, have a beard, wait for a special moment, a special time, be in front of a fire place, pull a snifter, smoke a cigar …..
And when was the last time you heard anyone say, "Let's have a brandy”?

Brandy is intellectualized too much and the relationship with the drinker is not casual enough.That relationship is changing as consumers become more educated about brandy, and how authentic and astoundingly diverse it is.

But like most things in the craft distilling world, old is new again. Brandy, driven by the resurgence of classic cocktails, is on the upswing. California bartenders capitalizing on resurgence especially those who are working with Cyrano Armagnac, know this to be true.

Just as we've seen the growth in brown spirits, particularly bourbon and rye, brandy is now making a play. The brandy category, has nowhere to go but up from here.