All this month we’re taking a deep dive into France for our Spirit of France coverage. In this piece, we broadly examine the best-selling products coming out of the country’s globally renowned alcohol industry.
The French are known for producing high-quality beverage alcohol products, namely in the wine, Champagne and Cognac categories. But a number of the leading vodka brands hail from France, as well as some popular cordials and liqueurs.
In fact, three of the top-five overall leading French beverage alcohol brands are vodkas; the other two are Cognacs. The top French wine among those tracked by the Beverage Information Group is Gerard Bertrand. The eponymous winemaker owns 16 vineyards and estates in the Languedoc region of southern France.
Grand Marnier, owned by Campari America, is the top liqueur from France. Hypnotiq, a blend of Cognac, vodka and tropical fruit juices, and orange liqueur Cointreau are the second and third leading French liqueur brands.
The leading Champagne brand of those tracked is Veuve Clicquot, followed by Moet & Chandon. Both are owned by Moet Hennessy USA, which also boasts the number-one overall brand from France, Hennessy Cognac. Moet & Chandon was the only Champagne brand tracked that grew in 2020, as it was a rough year for the category.
Total Champagne sales slipped 18% in 2020, according to industry group Comité Champagne, due to Covid-related restaurant closures and cancellations of events and celebratory consumption occasions. But demand roared back in 2021. At press time 2021 Champagne sales were projected to reach $6.2 billion, surpassing a previous peak reached in 2019.