Cape Town - While premium vodka, champagne and cognac are the most dynamic sales categories among the in-crowd in Johannesburg, premium gin is the most dynamic sales category in Cape Town, according to Paul Scanlon, managing director of Pernod Ricard South Africa.
Premium gin is, however, becoming a national trend.
Whiskey and whisky is still the number one sales category for the company. Consumers are looking for certain premium Scotch blends and - more recently - Scotch malts.
Scanlon told Fin24 that South Africa has a "super-premium audience" estimated to be about 38 000 individuals. This segment is referred to as ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs).
This segment is willing to pay exorbitant prices to secure "money can’t buy" experiences and products that align them to the lifestyle they currently lead or aspire to form part of, according to Scanlon.
"Leading aspirational brands such as Royal Salute can sell limited edition bottles for R1m or more to collectors. This is usually only in Scotch whisky and to a lesser extent cognac. Champagne is also very popular, but UHNWIs are buying the really expensive top end brands that form part of our stable."
As for the company's sales in the rest of Africa, he said it is very much driven by Scotch and local whisky, while vodka and gin category sales are still modest.
"We are seeing growth of cognac and champagne, particularly in Nigeria," said Scanlon.
Trends in the rest of the world include "a lot of hype and commotion" around gin at the moment, specifically in the premium space. This is due to premium gin being considered as the most dynamic global category - mainly due to its versatility and mixability, according to Scanlon.
He said Pernod Ricard South Africa is still very much focused on its core whiskey and whisky brands such as Jameson, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Ballantine’s, but has also had success with Absolut vodka with the recent launch of the Lime edition and Martell Cognac VS Single Distillery.
"We also recently introduced one of the world’s finest gin brands - Monkey 47 from the Bavarian Black forest - containing 47 botanicals," he added.
* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER