New Nicolas Feuillatte team targets brand image

The new management team at Nicolas Feuillatte has targeted the improvement of the brand’s reputation as a "prestige" Champagne, despite it now selling in record volumes.

Nicolas Feuillatte grew 6% to break through the 10m bottle sales mark in 2014 for the first time in its history, making it the third largest global Champagne brand by volume and the leader in France.

Yet even by the cooperative’s own admission, its flagship brand has so far not managed to garner the reputation of some of its more established Champagne competitors.

Speaking to Drinks International in Champagne, new commercial director of the brand Juliette Allain said: “We need people to see us not as value for money but as a good wine. We want to be recognised.”

CV-CNF, the cooperative that produces Nicolas Feuillatte among 22-27m bottles per year, is based in Epernay but as a relatively young company, does not own property along the famous Avenue de Champagne, among the likes of Moët & Chandon and Paul Roger.

It has pledged to make improvements to its out-of-town facilities, including a new cellar next year, offices and on-site shop in 2017-2018.

Allain said the investment would help to “change the way people perceive us” and would centralise the operations of what is a growing company.

She outlined the UK market as key to growing Nicolas Feuillatte’s “prestige”. Currently the brand has a strong supermarket focus in the UK but no on-trade representation.

Allain said: “In all other markets we have on-trade representation. But in the UK we have not been able to develop the brand in the on-trade – we are looking for an agency. In the UK people see Nicolas Feuillatte as an off-trade brand. [In the on-trade] they prefer more prestigious brands on their menus.”

Allain added that Nicolas Feuillatte has the breadth of portfolio to offer different wines to different channels and said the agency she seeks is an on-trade specialist, as she deals directly with supermarkets in the UK off-trade.