After Guangzhou in China and Moscow in Russia, celebrations of Hennessy’s 250th anniversary came to New York in early July. Rodney Williams, Senior Vice President of Hennessy and Moët Hennessy in the U.S., details activation in the U.S. market around the H250 event.
“Hennessy is experiencing a very special year in 2015, perhaps even more exceptional in the United States. To start with, the House is organizing wonderfully creative celebrations for its 250th anniversary. After Guangzhou and Moscow, New York welcomed the Hennessy 250 Tour at Lincoln Center, a temple of arts and culture in every form.
The traveling exhibition, which was open to the public, welcomed nearly 3,000 people over three days. This stop included a rich lineup of artistic performances, including an exceptional “happening” with the American rapper Nas, spectacular performances by rising stars from the Juilliard School, and public conferences by street art legend Futura, choreographer Jonah Bokaer and Daniel Arsham, one of the video artist on the Tour.
It was a great opportunity to engage with our customers, partners and friends and really showcase the essence of Hennessy’s DNA. The event received an amazing reception. People were excited to discover the deep heritage behind Hennessy assemblages, our centuries of artisanal savoir-faire, an unbroken tradition of excellence and a real passion transmitted from one generation to the next.
One detail that really marked people was the fact that Hennessy was founded in 1765, before the United States as we know them today even existed! This also resonates with another major event for Hennessy in the States in 2015, the sailing from France to the east coast of the U.S. of a replica of The Hermione, the French frigate that Lafayette sailed to America in 1780. And just as it had in the 18th century, the ship carried barrels of Hennessy cognac on board.
We seized upon this occasion to join the celebration of Franco-American friendship and at the same time strengthen our leadership in social responsibility: one of the barrels that sailed across the Atlantic was auctioned during the Hennessy 250 Tour gala, with proceeds going to local charities.
We’ve been present in the American market – which is Hennessy’s largest by volume worldwide – since 1794, and these different celebrations were a chance to spotlight our unique savoir-faire. Lovers of super premium brown spirits are increasingly interested in the way these spirits are made. For the very first time the entire Hennessy tasting Committee came together in the United States during the 250th gala dinner, offering a unique look at the unyielding level of excellence required to produce each bottle of cognac that bears our coat of arms, the arm holding a hatchet.
All this gives me great confidence in Hennessy’s future in the United States. In recent years we’ve seen a lot of upscaling to our prestige eaux-de-vie. Thanks to the tremendous job that’s been done to promote the 250th anniversary of the House in the U.S., we’re definitely continuing to build on this momentum.