19th century

HISTORY OF COGNAC   

Birth of numerous Cognac houses

In the 19th century, France witnessed seven political regimes and two revolutions, leaving the country with a certain sense of instability.

Periods of economic liberalism alternated with periods of protectionism.

Naissance de nombreuses Maisons de négoceIt was during this century that many of the Cognac houses were established (Bisquit 1819, Courvoisier 1843, Royer 1853, Meukow 1862, Camus, Hardy 1863…)

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At the time, France was drawing its resources from its colonial conquests, which pushed back the first industrial revolution in France until after Napoleon’s abdication.

During the 19th century, Cognac shipping experienced a real burst in growth. (Going from a little more than 36,000 hl In volume in 1799 to more than 478,000 hl in 1879).

The growth was erratic and while Cognac shipments took a plunge after the French Revolution, they reached new heights in 1807.

On the other hand, Napoleon’s continental blockade went hand-in hand with the collapse of Cognac sales as of 1808.

Booming growth for Cognac under Napoleon III

It would not be until 1860, with the signing of a free trade agreement between England and France, driven by Napoleon III, that Cognac sales would take off. By 1879 they had tripled, from less than 150,000 hl in 1860.

Beginning of shipping in bottles

Début des expéditions en bouteilleIn the middle of the 19th century, Cognac houses began to ship the spirit in bottles rather than casks, in order to promote their “brand”.

This new form of trade in turn gave birth to related industries: glassmaking (indeed, in 1885 Claude Boucher began working on mechanizing bottle manufacturing procedures at the St Martin glass factory in Cognac), case, cork-making and printing.

1877: 282,667 ha of vineyards

Vignoble au XIXe siècleIn 1877, the vineyards covered 282,667 hectares (an area larger than Luxembourg).