Armagnac: How US tariff relief poses long-term questions

“Because we’re a small brand in terms of volume we have to have a focused strategy in terms of marketing and distribution, which is something that we are bringing to the company,” says Lili de Montal, whose family originates from China. “My father in law is passionate about the quality of the armagnac we produce, while my husband and I are now driving the growth of the business. Of course it’s integral to have a great product, but just having the best quality armagnac isn’t enough to grow the brand and so marketing is important too.

“We’ve been studying the market over the past year and we have a growth plan for the first three years, and a second phase over the following five years. The first phase will be focused on economy growth and development of distribution and with this we prefer to do fewer markets but execute them very well.

“We see China as a huge opportunity for Domaine d’Arton, because through specialist importers such as MOQ Wines we are positioning ourselves to really thrive in the country. I believe armagnac is the perfect fit for the Chinese market because not only is it authentic with lots of history, but brands such as Arton are fully traceable, which the market loves.”

Despite coming off the back of a global pandemic and various trade disputes with its two biggest international markets ongoing, armagnac producers have a surprisingly high cause for optimism. Biden’s desire to heal US-EU relations may put to rest the steep tariffs in the west, while the sheer size of the Asian market represents a huge opportunity with the right strategies in place. One common factor for nearly every producer however, is that the continued poor performance of the domestic market is doing nothing to encourage them to look inwards.