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How Hennessy Showcased the Cognac-Making Process Through a Multi-Sensory Tour

The French liqueur brand launched a weeklong experiential tour in Brooklyn to show consumers the cognac-making process.

By Ian Zelaya November 13, 2017, 7:15 AM EST

The copper room provided guests with a popular photo op as it changed colors. 

Photo: Courtesy of Hennessy

Hennessy's "Le Grand Voyage"
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To give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at its history and cognac-making process, Hennessy recently launched an experiential tour for consumers in Brooklyn. The multi-sensory tour, titled “Le Grand Voyage,” was designed to take fans of the cognac brand on a virtual journey to Cognac, France, to learn more about how the brandy is made using elements such as video, aromas, tastings, sounds, and artificial weather.

For the tour, Hennessy partnered with NVE Experience Agency to create the event—along with London-based experiential agency Hue & Cry—which opened to the public on November 8 and runs through Tuesday at Industry City

The event is part of Hennessy's broader education platform, which aims to promote the brand's craft credentials, flavor complexity, and link to American cocktail culture, as it's used in popular drinks such as sidecars. The event also coincides with the brand’s 250th anniversary.

At the start of the 45-minute experience, guests—who could sign up for the tour on the Hennessy website—were invited to enjoy a cocktail in a branded waiting area. From there, they were led through a series of rooms by a brand ambassador who discussed the brand's history and the different steps that go into making cognac, which is made from distilling white wine. 

Mai-Lan Pham, senior event producer for NVE, said her team and Hue & Cry collaborated to produce an experience inspired by the natural process of making cognac. “Hue & Cry traveled to Cognac, France, to experience Hennessy’s cognac-making process in person, which inspired each distinct consumer experience,” said Pham. “From there, the agencies worked together to bring to life the experiential elements involved in crafting the world’s best-selling cognac: unpredictable weather and terrain conditions faced by winemakers through simulated rainfall, double distillation in a copper room inspired by the traditional Charentais pot still, infinite rows of French Limousin oak to visualize nuances of maturation, and more.”

The end of the tour invited guests to enjoy cocktails at an industrial-inspired bar, where they also could watch an ice demonstration by cocktail-industry expert Camper English.

Here’s a look at how Hennessy used multi-sensory elements to transport guests to the French town of Cognac.

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