How hip-hop saved the cognac industry. See? There’s hope…
Rappers’ adoption of cognac, the storied French spirit, as their preferred party booze has been a godsend for Louvet and her fellow farmers.
Five years ago, the region surrounding the small town of Cognac in southwestern France was on the brink of ruin. An economic crisis had sent consumption of the brown liquor plummeting in Asia, its No. 1 market.
In 1998, furious grape growers blockaded the town for four days after cognac makers slashed grape orders.
These days, the cognac industry is thriving – thanks to America, not Asia. Exports of cognac to the United States have nearly tripled over the past 10 years, and last year Americans spent an estimated $1 billion on Napoleon’s nightcap.
Behind this trend are the likes of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Snoop Dogg and other rappers who have embraced the pricey brandy with the 300-year history as a status symbol. That has spawned a cult cognac following among young urban black people, who mix the liquor in new cocktails with names like “Thug Passion” and “French Connection.”
Ya learn something new every day, huh?