After French drinks export shipments to the U.S. dropped significantly in 2020 due to tariffs—whose five-year suspension was announced this past Tuesday—exports have been rebounding strongly in the first four months of 2021. In this calendar year through April, U.S. imports of wine and spirits from France leapt 25% and 13% in volume terms respectively, according to French government agency BusinessFrance. French beer and cider also registered gains during the period.
Provence is now the single-largest region among French wines exported to the U.S. and increased 15% through April in volume terms, driven by ongoing growth for rosé (+17.5%). But the fastest-growing wine region is the Languedoc, which soared 86% year-to-date. Gains were recorded nearly across all segments as vermouth exports to the U.S. rose 41% year-to-date while Champagne surged 48%. Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon together comprise over two-thirds of the Champagne market in the U.S.—according to Impact Databank—and bucked the trend last year by registering volume gains during the pandemic.
With the exception of vodka (-37% year-to-date), imports of French spirits also recorded impressive increases through April. French liqueurs soared 47% in volume terms, while the largest segment, Cognac, rose 49%. After crossing the 5-million-case mark last year, Hennessy Cognac became one of the 10 largest-selling spirits overall in the U.S. market for the first time. Hennessy and Rémy Martin, which is also growing strongly, comprise well over three-quarters of the Cognac market in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.—Juan Banaag