When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Not Shaken, Not Stirred: James Bond's Champagne Of Choice Is Crisis Proof
Photomontage / Eon Productions
Marie-Josée Cougard

PARIS - "An exceptional year for Bollinger champagne..." Considering the current economic situation, Jérôme Philipon's comment is refreshing indeed.

Even as the overall champagne market was down by 5% at the end of September, the family-run Bollinger producers predict record sales for 2013, says Philipon, the CEO of the champagne house. He expects a growth of 3 to 5% in 2012, following an impressive 8% last year.

What’s Bollinger’s secret? Bond, James Bond -- who only drinks Bollinger champagne. The huge success of Skyfall, the franchise’s latest installment, is the perfect opportunity for the champagne house to put its 2002 vintage in the limelight.

Bottled especially for the film, the 002 for 007 limited edition is a nod to Her Majesty’s most stylish secret agent. The box containing the bottle comes in the shape of Bond’s Walther PPK gun, and opens only when the purchaser unlocks the "secret" code – 007, obviously.

"This kind of special bottle only means additional sales for us," says Philipon.

Consumers like it so much that Bollinger estimates that the limited edition, sold at 150 euros, is responsible for 20% of this year’s growth. "It’s a huge hit everywhere," says the Bollinger chief. "Except in Spain, where consumers are reluctant to associate the brand with James Bond. And Russia, where they’re not big on weapon-related products..."

Bollinger did not have to pay rights for references to the film on its labels, since the champagne house reached a deal with the Broccoli family that controls the James Bond film franchise.

The world’s most famous spy is not solely responsible for such good results: Investing 12 million euros in a brand new production site in Oger in northeastern France proved very successful. So does Bollinger’s new bottle, inspired by the model sold in 1846, and which aims at differentiating the brand from its competitors.

"We represent less than 1% of the volume of champagne sales," says Philipon. "We will only succeed if we are able to distinguish ourselves."

Added to this is a big change in strategy: Bollinger is historically linked to the United Kingdom – a market that used to account for 40% of the brand’s exports.

But the estate has learned a lesson from what it calls "the 2009 disaster," when England and several other foreign markets almost completely closed their doors to Bolly’s bubbles.

As a result, the shares – Bollinger then exported 85% of its bottles -- plunged by 55% in the first quarter. The brand’s goal today is to become less dependent on the United Kingdom and conquer market shares back home in France.

Bollinger is now the most served brand at the Mandarin Oriental and Shangri La hotels in Paris. "It’s easy for us to gain more market shares in France," says Philipon, "considering how low we’ve started."

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Why Fast-Tracking Ukraine's NATO Entry Is Such A Bad Idea

Ukraine's President Zelensky should not be putting pressure for NATO membership now. It raises the risk of a wider war, and the focus should be on continuing arms deliveries from the West. After all, peace will be decided on the battlefield.

American soldiers from the U.S. army during a training exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany

Christoph B. Schiltz

-OpEd-

Nine NATO member states from Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans are now putting pressure on the military alliance to welcome Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for "accelerated accession."

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

As understandable as it is that his country wants to join a strong defensive military alliance like NATO, the timing is wrong. Of course, we must acknowledge the Ukrainian people's heroic fight for survival. But Zelensky must be careful not to overstretch the West's willingness to support him.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ