Once exported, a bottle of Cognac is enjoyed in different ways, depending on its destination. Our Cognac International series explores the different ways of drinking Cognac around the world. Next stop: the Netherlands.
Local products and imported goods
The Dutch produce a number of spirits themselves that are coming back into fashion, thanks in particular to a dynamic cocktail scene that uses both locally-produced liquor and mixology classics such as Cognac. Rowin Niewerth, Cognac Educator in the Netherlands, tells us:
“Cognac is a beautiful product that doesn’t need much to be magnified. Just add some tonic, a ginger ale and it’ s already delicious. When a customer gets to know it like that, we explain that each Cognac can be tasted in its own way.”
In addition to the first tasting, awareness-raising efforts are needed to explain the time, history and expertise that go into every bottle of Cognac. Indeed, there is a marked interest in enology among the Dutch, who would be willing to pay slightly more for a better-quality product.
A certain age, a certain method of consumption
In the Netherlands, as elsewhere, the ways in which spirits are enjoyed can vary widely from one generation to the next. Among the country’s oldest generation, the tradition of enjoying an after-dinner drink still stands: it is consumed neat on special occasions, such as a family gathering or a business meal.
Among the youngest generation, there is a tendency to buy a brand rather than a product. Cognac goes with a soft drink on festive occasions:
” The brand is a good way to talk about the intrinsic qualities of the product and to discover the making of Cognac with rather basic information: it is a spirit made from grapes in a specific French region.”
Regretful that his country was not a bigger consumer of Cognac, Rowin organized the first festival dedicated to the spirit: a weekend filled with masterclasses, stands and tastings created an opportunity for Cognac producers and bar industry professionals to meet. Niewerth’s wine cellar in Vleuten also boasts 60 cognacs, whereas others rarely carry more than 10.
“Giving a bottle of Cognac as a gift is the best way to introduce someone to the product. One can then fully appreciate the taste and then perhaps go on to discover other cognacs.”
On the one hand, a festival aimed at professionals to demonstrate the versatility of the beverage and, on the other hand, a distribution network to make the product accessible to potential consumers. Through his efforts, Rowin Niewerth is determined to create opportunities for fruitful encounters between his home country and the Charentes region.
Photo cover : © Amsterdam : Unnsplash – Azhar J