CRAZY FOR COGNAC
Cognac, one of the ultimate symbols of luxury, has had a rough few years since the economy tanked. But the spirit has made a comeback in certain parts of the world. New figures issued by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) show that in 2O11, Cognac had strong growth of 6.4% compared to 2O1O. In fact, the brandy has once again broken its previous records in terms of volume and value. Cognac sold at a rate of more than five bottles per second last year, sparking the surge attributed mainly to tremendous demand in China. Exports to that country rose 2O%, according to the BNIC. Overall, consumers purchased 162.9 million bottles of Cognac in 2O11. The Far East remained one of the biggest regional markets, accounting for more than one-third of total demand. Exports to the region rose 14.4%. Meanwhile, sales in the West were slower, with exports to Europe inching up just .4% to 46.9 million bottles, while demand in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries rose just 3.2% to 5O.8 million bottles.