Part II: One-on-One with Pernod USA CCO

Dear Client:

Yesterday we published the first part of our interview with Pernod Ricard USA cco Julien Hemard. Today we’ll pick up right where we left off in the conversation.

Wine & Spirits Daily: Tell me about Pernod’s consumer-centric strategic approach.

Julien Hemard: This is one of the group’s key strategies. Actually, recently we’ve launched a new global platform around the power of conviviality. The idea of conviviality is about sharing a genuine moment with a group of friends and so there is a new campaign [called “Be a Convivialist”]. It was launched about 10 days ago, it’s already reached 30 million people, and that’s one of the examples of what we talk about in terms of consumer centricity, leveraging this power of conviviality to reach people and promote our portfolio of brands.

WSD: How is the company using shopper insight to inform strategy?

Julien: Shopper insight is very critical for the retailers and we are developing our own vision and framework for what we see the shopper wants and the shoppers do not want. And that’s something we are sharing now with our retailers. We believe that if we can help retailers make shoppers’ lives easier, then everybody is going to win at the end.

It’s [sharing] data and insight in terms of behavior. How we can, you know, drive certain behavior and how we can help shopper experience being a smoother and easier experience when they go out in stores.

WSD: Turning to e-commerce, is Pernod working on building out e-commerce capabilities?

Julien: We’re obviously working very actively with our retailers partners, distributor partners to test and learn, you know, obviously within the three-tier system. But the idea is to make consumer and shopper lives easier and this is quite a challenge in the US given the complexity of state laws and limitations. So, it’s smaller, but we are actively testing and learning with our partners.

At the moment we haven’t seen any material impact, because e-commerce is very small.

WSD: Tell me about Pernod’s strategy on-premise versus off-premise.

Julien: It varies by background or by categories or by occasion of where we want to prioritize off versus on. We think that both channels are important at a certain stage of brand development or category development or to target specific occasions. So, it’s not one size fits all, where we go, first one and then to another. It depends a lot on the type of brand and categories and occasion.

WSD: Zooming out, are there any global trends that are informing US trends?

Julien: Yes, we are also leveraging some trends in Europe, from Spain, in the Pacific, and that’s the beauty of being part of a big global group. Sometimes [the trends] are relevant to the US and sometimes maybe less. But that is something the US retailers are quite keen on to better understand and we are certainly leveraging our global network of insights.

WSD: Several big bev alc companies have gotten into cannabis recently. How closely is Pernod watching the cannabis market?

Julien: We’re watching very closely, monitoring the situation in the states that have legalized that market. This is happening as we speak, so we are certainly keeping a very close eye on cannabis.

We haven’t made any decision yet [to get involved in cannabis]. I mean so far we haven’t seen a material impact on alcohol consumption in the states that have legalized cannabis. So again, we’re keeping a close eye on it and no decision has been made at this time.

WSD: Thank you for your time, Julien.


Last week, Oregon lawmakers introduced a bill to tighten restrictions on wine labels, specifically barring companies from incorporating Oregon AVAs on Oregon-grown wine made outside the state.

The bill would require labels to identify the state where the wine was produced “immediately preceding, and in a font twice the size of, the Oregon name or geographic designation,” per Portland Business Journal. Moreover, wines made in Oregon but then bottled or packaged in another state must note that it was vinted in another state in large type as well. Violators would be subject to up to a $25,000 penalty.

This is a direct result of the recent labeling controversy around Napa Valley-based Copper Cane Wines’ Oregon wine brands. You’ll recall, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently cracked down on Copper Cane, ordering the winery to remove Oregon AVAs from its Elouan wine brand label because the wines are produced in California [see WSD 11-20-2018].

Until tomorrow,

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton  

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