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Cognac Dreams
Photograph by Kartik Rao
Published: Volume 15, Issue 5, May, 2007
Among the most renowned alcoholic-beverage companies in the world, Pernod Ricard owns a large stable of brands including Chivas Regal, Jacob's Creek Australian wine and Martell & Co. Joining the family business as communications director was a natural step for Elisabeth Ricard, the 20-something niece of CEO and Chairman of Pernod Ricard, Patrick Ricard. Recently in New Delhi to participate in the FICCI Luxury Roundtable Conference, the attractive and spirited lady - no pun intended - chatted with Verve about work and play

What's it like to be in India and what are your plans for the Indian market?
Our cognac brand Martell & Co is already present in India and we are planning to launch more new products. But it's my first time in India. Martell joined Comite Colbert recently in July 2006. I'm here as part of Comite Colbert for the FICCI Luxury Roundtable Conference. I like it very much. New Delhi is very green with a lot of flowers. The people are very friendly too.

Tell me more about the brand history of Martell.
Martell was founded in 1715 almost three centuries ago by Jean Martell. He came to Cognac and founded this business and he passed it on to his sons. Our company now exports to the UK, China and other parts of the world. Martell produces cognac with double distillation methods and uses the finest grapes from Borderies grown in the tiny region of the Appellation du Regime Controle.

Tell us about your range for India.
We have a wide range for India. One of our prized products is L'or de Jean Martell. It's our premium cognac. So is Cordon Bleu, actually. India is definitely ready for the best.

Was it a natural to join the family business?
Yes, it was quite natural. I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, the founder of the Ricard group of companies. He was very passionate about his business. My brothers and sisters also work in the company. The brand Ricard merged with Pernod in 1974 and became Pernod Ricard. Later, Pernod Ricard made several acquisitions and acquired other brands under the group. Today, it has a huge global presence.

How do you think about the luxury market in India?
Our team that came here felt it is a promising market. They have conducted tasting sessions and worked on educating the Indian consumers about the product. The response has been good. I'm very hopeful about the future.

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