#TBT: Black consumers love their cognac
From Slate Magazine:
Cognac is almost as much a French cliché as stinky cheese and horizontally striped shirts. Further, cognac producers often play up their national character, festooning their labels with the fleur de lis and channeling French icons like Louis XIII and Napoleon.
However, the French don’t touch cognac. Instead, they export more than 97 percent of it, according to the tourist board of Poitou-Charentes, the administrative region where Cognac is located. The U.S. is the biggest single customer, with African-Americans accounting for a large majority of those sales.
Cognac’s relationship with African-American consumers started when black soldiers stationed in southwest France were introduced to it during both world wars. The connection between cognac producers and black consumers was likely bolstered by the arrival of black artists and musicians like Josephine Baker, who filled Paris clubs with jazz and blues during the interwar years, according to Dr. Emory Tolbert, a history professor at Howard University.