Despite a lagging economy and a debt crisis in Europe, global sales of cognac hit record highs in 2011, industry body Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac (BNIC) announced Saturday.
The brandy sold at a rate of more than five bottles per second last year, sparking the 6.4% surge attributed mainly to soaring demand for the product in China. Exports to that country rose 20%, according to the BNIC. Overall, consumers purchased 162.9 million bottles of cognac in 2011.
The Far East remained one of the biggest regional markets for cognac, 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 0.4% to 46.9 million bottles, while demand in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries rose just 3.2% to 50.8 million bottles.