ArmInfo. Yerevan Brandy Company has not only maintained but also slightly raised sales, Igor Arakelyan, YBC CEO, told journalists, Friday. He said Russia remains the key sales market of Armenia, but export of the Armenian brandy has decreased certainly, but sales volumes increased by 1.5%.
"YBC remains the leading producer of the Armenian brandy and among top five brandy sellers in Russia. I am speaking about the Russian and other brandies in our price segment - it is a market of about 35 million liter of brandy. The French brandy is in the other price segment. The entire market is twice as large, but there are very low price products and we do not want to compete with such quality of brandy. Therefore, we compare our production with the products in the same price and quality category," YBC CEO said.
He recalled the two years ago the situation changed dramatically and the Company tried to keep its presence in the market unchanged, despite the halved incomes. "The most important for us at that moment was to understand the new terms the market offers. It was really new terms. Since 1998 when Pernod Ricard bought YBC, crisis has been occurring once in 4-5 years and sales were falling and recovering again. This time, it cannot be called a crisis, it is just new terms and all the producers, starting from winegrowers up to brandy factories, need to learn playing on the new rules and maybe even earn less. The major goal must be preservation of what has been created within these years of development. In this light, the main burden lies with ArArAt. We are the leaders in the field and must keep investing in marketing too. We must wage the right policy in the field and we do it," Arakelyan said.
For instance, he said, YBC was the partner of the Tretyakov Gallery at an exhibition dedicated to the great seascape painter Ayvazovsky. "We have been sponsoring such authoritative event as the Russian National Theater Award "Golden Mask" for a second year already. The Russian consumers welcome our participation in such events, as ArArAt is a brand and image:" he said adding that the brand is like luxurious watches. In his words, the company has achieved the minimum profit margin considering the expenses, cost value, investments, including in advertising, which is necessary to keep the image and consequently to remain in demand. "All strong brands invest in advertising and sponsor important events," Arakelyan said.
He said YBC is fighting not in the category "Armenian brandy" but on the alcohol market in general where brandy consumption is falling. In Russia, it fell 2.5%. "Anyway, we have maintained our positions. Instead, whiskey consumption is growing. The point is that preferences and alcohol 'fashion' change over time. It is a challenge too: Only brandy is a seasonal product, but whiskey can be made throughout the year and its cost value is very low," he said. YBC CEO highlighted that the Company has entered a high price segment, by producing a 30-year-old brandy "Erebuni" which is expensive and quite successful, as the company has already sold 1,000 liters of this brandy in Oct 2015 -Jun 2016 - quite good indicator for a new and expensive product. "Offering something new in the segment of the French brandy is a good achievement," he said adding that the Company introduced another new product - ArArAt 25-years - a limited issue dedicated to the 25th Independence Anniversary of Armenia. "We have high-quality reserve of brandy spirits that have been accumulated within more than 100 years, which helps us produce high quality brandy. This is our peculiarity and consumer waits expensive brandy from us," he said for conclusion.