Interview with Pierre-Louis Araud the Business Development Manager and Global Brand Ambassador for Moët & Chandon in Champagne, France.
Maison Moët & Chandon was founded in 1743 and introduced champagnes to the world with Moët Impérial, the Grand Vintage Collection, Moët Rosé Impérial and Moët Nectar Imperial.
As the ambassador for Moet & Chandon, what is the most important aspect in your role?
It is my role to share the lifelong goal of Jean-Remy Moët “To share the magic of champagne with the world.”
Through our champagne, we share the story and emotions.
I spend lot of time in events, bars, clubs and parties viewing our brand and how it is being appreciated champagne lovers. Of course, I also attend meetings.
What is your defintion of this champagne?
Moët & Chandon is champagne; it means it is not just sparkling wine. There is a difference between champagne and sparkling wine, as it is exclusive and it is very demanding to make it. It requires a lot of detail to create it to perfection.
Champagne is only made in Champagne in France. The production is not wide as it is produced in a very specific region at the heart of France.
What is your general overview of the Moet & Chandon business in sub-Saharan Africa?
I believe that as African economies improve and the middle class grows, consumption of champagne will increase as tastes and lifestyles evolve.
There is a changing attitude and the African affluent are highly concerned concerned about personal growth, the environment, social responsibility and consuming environmentally friendly products.
Moët & Chandon makes people dream and have high desires. We have a lot of interest in sub-Saharan Africa.
What are the ranges of Moet & Chandon products that are available in most of the African countries? (Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the rest?)
We have MOËT IMPÉRIAL, MOËT Nectar Rose IMPÉRIAL, and MOËT NECTAR IMPÉRIAL, which are working very well.
We noticed the demand for the high end products and top range products; hence these are the reasons why we chose to propose them as well the new comer in our range of products that we call MCIII. MC stands for Moët & Chandon, while the Roman numeral III reflects the three centuries that span this maison’s existence; it actually symbolises three different techniques, or as the company refers to them, “stratums”—of this wine’s creation. MCIII is the result of aging and combining a number of Moët’s best Grand Vintage wines into what results in an ultra-luxurious, non-vintage Champagne.
The maturation of these various vintages has been divided into a trilogy of aging vessels encompassing wood, glass, and metal. This innovative process took Moët’s Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez and his team of winemakers more than 20 years to perfect.
Nigeria is your leading market in regards to champagne consumption. How would you explain your view of this market?
Nigeria was very interesting to me. Before my first visit to the country, I had heard that people drink champagne all the time and it thought that I needed to see this for myself. And yes, this is exactly what I saw in Nigeria. There are online companies that even deliver the drink to your location.
Either during the day or at night you will see that Nigerians like to party and enjoy life. Nigeria is a strong market for our products.
Beyond parties, we have the wedding market. Weddings are big in Nigeria. There is also a business of having Moët & Chandon for lunch or dinner, for people who appreciate it. This lifestyle is similar to Ivory Coast. In Abidjan there is a club called 40/40 which caters to Moet. When you walk around in the club you will see huge slabs designed with the word Moet.
The main difference in these two countries is the size of the market, Nigerians having a larger population than Ivory Coast hence large consumption numbers.
What is the growth of Moet & Chandon consumption in East Africa?
Kenya has realized great growth in champagne consumption leading in East Africa. It is a stable market good economy and quite sophisticated in development in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the economy keeps growing more and more Kenyans want to enjoy the finer things in life such as Moet & Chandon as they celebrate their success. This makes Kenya our leading champagne base in East Africa.
Tanzania is also an upcoming market that also enjoys champagne.
Which are the leading champagne markets and is there a difference in their tastes?
Nigeria is the leading champagne market in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by South Africa and in third place we have three countries Angola, Ivory Coast and Kenya.
The tastes differ in each market as we discovered. South Africa has an appreciation for a sweet taste just like in Kenya. In these two markets we have Moet Nectar and Moet Brut.
We have a beautiful brand that is known for celebration and Africans love to celebrate therefore this is the perfect brand for happiness.
Champagne life is about celebration. Is this the main essence of this brand?
Correct. It is to make people dream and to share good moments with them.
What is essential is to share the joy of this beautiful product. Irrespective of who you are, you just want to celebrate a good moment with your family and friends, or a big moment in your life. It is the same behaviour in front of the bottle, and the atmosphere after the taste of the drink. The ice is broken and everyone becomes friendly. Champagne is about celebration of life and that is why you can drink it anytime and anywhere, from breakfast to dinner or even at tea time.
Moët & Chandon is a product of success and glamour.