Cognac, a global town of 20,000

Cognac as a global place

Some cynic said once that Cognac’s best triumph ever was being by the Charente river. Easy communication from the producing region to the Atlantic coast was undoubtedly a major component of Cognac becoming a global product and much of the rest can be put on the account of the wonderful quality of the product and the inventiveness of the Cognaçais at finding new markets.

However, the global character of the city of Cognac doesn’t warrant a lot of explaining to be perceived; 97 out of 100 bottles of the Liquor of the Angels are exported. Only 3 are consumed in France. To indulge in an anthropomorphic metaphor, Cognac is born in France but comes economically of age abroad. In fact, more Cognac is consumed in Norway than in France.

That small town of 20,000 “owns” a global luxury product that only can be made there and sells it around the world. As the demise of the Chinese Eldorado market is increasingly confirmed by the facts, the recurrent questions about the future of Cognac (the product) come to haunt Cognac (the city)

The French model of governance, rationalistic and centralizing, wants that no city of 20,000 may be considered and treated differently than any other city of 20,000. Adapting the foot of reality to the shoe of ideology is often a losing proposition.