Camus Cognac – this fifth largest cognac company is the last one that is still fully owned by the descendants of its founder Jean-Baptiste Camus.
Long overshadowed by larger rivals, Camus, has intensified its efforts in recent years with an eye toward a larger U.S. presence.
“We’ve definitely changed dimensions in the last two years,” Camus tells Shanken News Daily. “We’ve moved from being the largest of the small Cognac players to being the smallest of the large players. Two years ago we had around 180 employees around the world. By the end of this year we’ll have over 500.”
“The U.S. is now going quickly for us,” he says. “Historically it hasn’t been a very good match for our portfolio profile, which is focused toward the high end. But the U.S. is now moving more in that direction, so the opportunity is there.”
The eaux de vie of the Camus blends are from the family owned wineries with their own Distillery: Chateau d’Uffaut and Bonneuil in the Grande Champagne, Chateau du Plessis and Vignolles in Borderies with a total of 125 acres.
Up to 170 different eaux de vie from different years and vineyards can be found in a blend of Camus, serve as the main basis Borderies cognacs from the family-owned distilleries. So as not to be irritated by the color of the purchased Cognacs, Jean-Paul Camus is tasting basically in a blue tinted glass. His credo: “That avoids irritation and promotes concentration on aroma and flavor.”
Despite its tilt toward the ultra-premium arena, Camus says it won’t ignore Cognac’s more accessible price levels. It markets both a Camus VS ($30) and Camus VSOP ($44) in the U.S. in addition to its XO-and-above offerings. “The temptation is to hold stocks to sell more profitably at the high end and in more profitable markets like China,” Camus says. “A lot of players are pulling back from more mature markets for that reason. We’re going against that to some extent, making sure we devote stock to all quality levels. The higher-end offers more profit, but VS and VSOP can create wide exposure for the brand.”