Interview

François Thibault

The king of vodka made in Cognac
By Elga Trad
October 12, 2018

Synonymous with luxury and premium quality, Grey Goose, the premium French vodka has been on the international market for 22 years. Sold in 166 countries, Grey Goose’s global success continues.

We had the pleasure to meet with its creator, François Thibault, also known in the world of spirits professionals, as "Papa Goose" during his recent visit to Taillevent, Achrafieh.

 

How can a spirit access premium positioning?

It's all about doing the product yourself. This positioning means that the product joins '' the club of brands '' in terms of image, quality, distribution, notoriety and aesthetics. This generates an additional cost, which makes the product more expensive than commercial products, so this is hardly a common vodka.

 

How does one access to the title of cellar-master?

This means chief, and this is the title given to the technical manager in the cognac company who usually gets it after 7 years of experience or if his predecessor withdraws. The cellar master is unique and is responsible of the production of cognac and the stocks. He is the guarantor of quality and he has to transmit his savoir-faire and his knowledge to the following generations. There’s a very significant quote I like: "I drink the brandy of my father and my great-grandfather and I make the brandy of my son and my grandchildren." Hence the notion of time which is very important to respect too.

 

You have to be courageous and visionary to create vodka in the Cognac region!

I would have never thought to do it by myself, it was Sidney Frank who asked me, I had already worked years ago for the creation of the cognac Jacques Cardin with other cognacs and brandies because he wanted to import alcohol from Europe to the United States... We can say that we dared because an American wanted to design a premium vodka and in a region of cognac, and I passed for a traitor for a few years, because the region was specialized in cognac for four centuries! Since then, several vodka brands have sprung up in the region thanks to our motivation.

*Full interview available in our October 2018 issue

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