The Tessendier distillery wants its place in the sun.
Each generation has brought a new facet to the family business. To develop their brands, Jérôme and Lilian Tessendier rely on strong local visibility.
Happiness is sometimes exhausting. The SAS distillery Tessendier & fils experienced long and lively days during the last Blues Passions festival. The family business had its own space in the 'partners' garden'.
"I'm just recovering", smiled the managing director Jérôme Tessendier on Thursday.
For a long time discreet, the family company multiplies the local shop windows. It is one of the partner brands of the cafetiers of Place François-Ier for their summer events, a modest player alongside the three leading cognac houses. Through friendly relations, its flagship brand, Park cognac, is also promoted all year round by the Le Cougna café.
A reputation in the "cradle" of cognac
Park, for now, is limited to a few tens of thousands of bottles. The brand was created in the early 1990s as a subcontractor for Dominic Park, a Scotsman who "wanted to indulge" by working with a few targeted customers. Tessendier took over when he stopped in 2008. "I believe in his potential. She has a style, sleek, elegant, a little offbeat, in line with our house "paw". The base is traditional, but I detect a great modernity, with the colour, white, which affirms the high-end side, and the stag, the emblem of Mr. Park, quite powerful", analyses Jérôme Tessendier.
With a turnover of 44.5 million euros and a workforce of 30 employees, the company does not have the means to attack international markets head-on. It has chosen to bet on the "cradle" of cognac. "We have decided to concentrate our promotional efforts on the region in order to create a reputation. We want to recreate the local roots of the brand, to give it a foundation, a solidity. »
Trading still accounts for only 10% of turnover. This is a recent turnaround in a society where each generation has brought a new business. The founder, Gaston Tessendier, a maths teacher, became a weekend winegrower when, in 1880, he got together with a woman named Angèle and his wine estate at Le Buisson, in the commune of Javrezac, in the Borderies region. Their son, Claude, developed an important activity as a distiller by joining forces with another family to found the Société des viticulteurs réunis in 1928.
"The family then became the sole shareholder again. In the 1980s, we were the biggest distiller in the region. »
In a context of overproduction, Jean-Claude Tessendier, who embodies the third generation, launches a wholesale and storage business.
New site in Segonzac
His sons, Lilian, now Chairman, and Jérôme joined the company in 1992 and 1993, in a context of crisis. "It was a disaster. Prices were falling every month. We went to find customers where they were, with an aggressive sales policy, prospecting a lot. We got a lot of criticism for that. We were buying below cost. But we were also selling below cost," says the managing director.
Lilian and Jérôme Tessendier have continued to diversify by working as subcontractors for other cognac brands, but also brandys and other spirits.
Since 2001, the SAS has been developing its own creations, Grand Breuil, Campagnère, Le cognac du Buisson and Park. To do this, it has a choice asset, a head office and a production site located in Cognac, in the Le Breuil district. By taking over the presidency of USC rugby, Lilian Tessendier has added a stone in local involvement.
With growth, the construction of a second site is in the pipeline in the Segonzac business park.
Source : sudouest.fr