China’s crackdown on corruption, at least the visible signs of it, has hit luxury brands hard. The latest fancy brand to get a kick in its fancy pants is Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest maker of spirits.
According to the Wall Street Journal, drink sales have slumped across China, and really slumped among “ultra premium” brands, which have become a little too conspicuous for officials to quaff.
As a result, the focus has shifted downmarket to China’s younger consumers. The kids in the clubs may hesitate to order a $100 bottle of cognac, but perhaps a $28 bottle of Ballantines Finest whiskey, the company’s latest offering to China, will hit the spot. If so, the party for luxury brands is just getting started, even if China’s high-flying public servants are sobering up.