Just like a chameleon changing its colours to match the environment it finds itself in, Hennessy Cognac chief executive officer Bernard Peillon adopted a similar tactic in Jozi when he dropped by this week.
Instead of the glitz and glamour of the Sandton skyline, the Hennessy SA team chose to host Peillon in Diepkloof, Soweto, for lunch and a drink with a few fellows, including this lucky one.
In an intimate setting at Lapeng – a fine establishment that can easily match those in the ’burbs – Peillon sat down to a South African braai and spoke about the cognac’s 250-year history.
More than 90% of Hennessy is exported to more than 140 countries, with South Africa being the number six destination for the liquid, while the country comes first (outside France) in the consumption of the brand’s VSOP, which was created in 1817.
Peillon said Hennessy held the belief over generations that “you have to respect the local culture” where the product is consumed.
“We didn’t want to impose on the local culture; we have to blend in. We are like a chameleon … its skin takes the colour of the environment and blends in perfectly.
“Just like Hennessy, we blend in … Under the skin, we are Hennessy, we remain true to our belief.
“We are absolutely passionate about everything we do. If we did something wrong for 250 years, it would surprise me that we are still around.”