Having joined Rémy Cointreau over 25 years ago, Cécile Roudaut is the master blender behind St-Rémy brandy. She discusses sustainability, new product launches and her aspirations for the brand

HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR CAREER IN THE DRINKS INDUSTRY? 

Originally, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I studied biology and did an internship in cosmetics. This journey then led me into a wine estate in Saumur. It was a revelation. I joined Rémy Cointreau in 1997, working in the research and development department. I have been responsible for several brands in the liqueurs and spirits division, notably St-Rémy, for which I was appointed master blender in 2016. 

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE ST-RÉMY BRAND? 

St-Rémy will soon celebrate its 140th anniversary, and my vision is that, 140 years from now, our products will still be loved by consumers. I want St-Rémy to become a leader in the high-end brandy category. When consumers, journalists and the trade think of brandy, I dream of St-Rémy being at the top of their minds. I also want us to lead the transformation of the brandy category in terms of new product development and innovation. 

HOW IS ST-RÉMY MAKING ITS PRODUCTION PROCESS MORE SUSTAINABLE? 

Minimising our environmental footprint is a key commitment for St-Rémy. In 2022, we changed our plastic 50cl St-Rémy VSOP and XO bottles and our 1.75-litre St-Rémy VSOP plastic to recycled PET. In addition, we have been reducing the use of secondary packaging by removing the gift box on VSOP, also launching St-Rémy Signature without a gift box. More recently, we have announced our new, lightweight 70cl and 1-litre bottles, made entirely in France. We are proud to be among the brandy players championing a call to change and taking measures to help the environment. 

WHAT NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES DO YOU HAVE PLANNED? 

My ongoing goal is to constantly renew our range. Looking beyond our core range (St-Rémy VSOP, XO and Signature), we are always thinking about limited-edition expressions which stir up the curiosity of our consumers. I have noticed a growing interest in transparency – consumers want clarity on the products and traceability on the production. This will be the focus of our upcoming product launches: providing information on our ways of working, the regions where we source the grape varieties that compose our blends and the processes that bring St-Rémy to life. 

WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE BRANDY CATEGORY? 

We’ve seen the growing trend for mixology which has impacted the ways consumers drink our products. Brandy has a long, rich history of being enjoyed in classic cocktails, which have been the driving force behind the current mixology culture. This has both restored brandy’s place in the cocktail world and garnered it a younger fan base. Talking about cocktails, we also see a growing interest in alcoholic products and cocktail creations containing less alcohol. This is why we created a series of five lower-alcohol products (8% abv or less) in collaboration with French mixologist Matthias Giroud, using our St-Rémy XO and Signature.