Just the same as storing wine, understanding how to store Cognac is a big part of the inventory management process. The last thing you want to do is make a storage-related mistake that puts your inventory at risk — this can sink your business.
In this article, we outline the finer details of how to store Cognac alongside general inventory management tips.
Storing Cognac: Everything You Need to Know
You don’t want to take any risks with how you store your inventory. Your approach can make or break your bar profits. The following seven tips should help you formulate a strategy that instills confidence.
Key takeaway: Storing Cognac is a simple and straightforward process when you know which steps to take and the mistakes you need to avoid.
1. Store at the Right Temperature
Cognac is best stored in a cool environment, typically between 59-68°F (15-20°C). This is slightly warmer than the ideal wine temperature.
Extreme temperatures can either speed up or slow down the aging process, neither of which is beneficial for your liquor. Warm conditions may cause the alcohol to evaporate faster, leading to a loss of flavor and potency, while cold conditions may numb its complexities. A steady temperature also prevents the cork from drying out or the bottle from cracking.
Aim to keep your Cognac in a temperature-controlled space such as a wine cellar or a specialized refrigerator.
Note: Here are some other beverage storage ideas to consider.
2. Keep Away from Light
Similar to fine wines, Cognac should be stored away from direct light, especially sunlight. Extended light exposure can degrade the quality of your cognac over time, leading to a faded color, modified taste, and general expiration of the alcohol.
A dark cellar or cabinet serves as an ideal place to store your bottles. If you don't have a cellar or a dark room, consider covering your bottle with a cloth or keeping it inside its original box for protection.
3. Store Upright
Contrary to the common practice of storing wine bottles, Cognac should be stored upright. The high alcohol content in Cognac can degrade the cork if in contact for a prolonged period, tainting the taste of your spirit.
By storing your cognac upright, you're helping to maintain its optimal taste and flavor by preventing unnecessary contact between the cork and the liquor.
4. Seal Tightly
It's important to ensure that your Cognac is always tightly sealed. This prevents oxidation, which can adversely affect its flavor profile. If you're unable to reseal the bottle with the original cork, consider using a wine stopper or even a decanter to keep your Cognac fresh.
Remember, prolonged exposure to air can lead to a duller and flatter taste, so make sure you secure your bottles immediately after pouring.
5. Regularly Check Your Inventory
Periodically inspect your stored Cognac bottles for any signs of leakage or spoilage. If you notice any, consume these bottles first. Also, be aware of any changes in the taste of your Cognac over time. If you notice a significant alteration, it might be an indication of improper storage.
Regular inventory checks also allow you to keep track of your collection and understand which bottles may need to be consumed sooner rather than later.
6. Maintain Humidity Levels
While Cognac isn't as sensitive to humidity as wine, maintaining a good level of humidity (around 50-70%) can help preserve the cork's integrity, preventing it from drying out. A dried-out cork may crumble and allow air into the bottle, accelerating the oxidation process and spoiling the cognac.
Using a humidifier in your storage space or keeping a pan of water on the floor can help regulate humidity levels.
7. Store in a Vibration-free Area
Vibrations can speed up chemical reactions and disturb the Cognac's natural aging process. To preserve the original flavors and aromas, store your bottles in a stable, vibration-free area. Avoid placing your Cognac near appliances such as washing machines or fridges, which generate vibrations.
Also, refrain from frequently moving your bottles, as it can disrupt the Cognac’s maturation.
Cognac Storage: Top Mistakes to Avoid
Knowledge of common storage mistakes can help you prevent trouble such as damaged bottles. Here are a few mistakes you must avoid at all costs.
- Storing Cognac in a Warm Environment: Storing Cognac in a place that's too hot can accelerate the evaporation of alcohol, leading to a loss in the spirit's flavor and potency.
- Exposing Cognac to Direct Light: Prolonged exposure to sunlight or bright light can degrade the quality of your Cognac, leading to a faded color and modified taste.
- Storing Cognac on its Side: Unlike wine, Cognac should be stored upright to prevent the cork from getting soaked, which can cause it to degrade due to the high alcohol content of the spirit.
- Not Properly Sealing the Bottle: Failing to ensure that the Cognac bottle is tightly sealed can lead to oxidation, adversely affecting its flavor profile over time.
- Ignoring Humidity Levels: While Cognac isn't as sensitive to humidity as wine, maintaining a good level of humidity can help preserve the cork's integrity and prevent it from drying out. Lack of proper humidity control can lead to a dried-out cork and eventual spoilage of the Cognac.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Store Cognac
You can never have too much information when it comes to how to store Cognac. Here are five frequently asked questions and answers to help bring more clarity to the process.
1. At what temperature should I store my cognac?
Cognac should be stored in a cool environment, ideally between 15-20°C (59-68°F). Extreme temperatures can alter the aging process and affect the overall flavor profile of the spirit.
2. Should cognac be stored upright or on its side?
Unlike wine, cognac should always be stored upright. This helps to prevent the high alcohol content from degrading the cork and tainting the cognac's taste.
3. How important is light in storing cognac?
Light, especially sunlight, can degrade the quality of cognac over time. Therefore, it's recommended to store your cognac in a dark place, away from direct light.
4. Does the humidity level of the storage area affect the quality of cognac?
While cognac isn't as sensitive to humidity as wine, maintaining a moderate level of humidity (around 50-70%) can help preserve the cork's integrity and prevent it from drying out.
5. Is it okay to store cognac near appliances or in areas with a lot of movement?
No, it's best to store cognac in a stable, vibration-free area. Vibrations can speed up chemical reactions in the cognac and disturb its natural aging process.
How to Store Cognac the Right Way
As you can tell by now, there’s a right and wrong way to store cognac. It doesn’t matter if you’re managing a country club business, a restaurant, or a bar, knowing what you should and shouldn’t do is imperative to your success.
Once you’ve decided on a storage strategy that suits your establishment and customer base, it’s time to learn more about BinWise and BlueCart. Both of these applications can help you with restaurant or bar management.
The BinWise Pro platform, when used alongside the BinScan mobile app, can bring efficiency to your inventory program. Furthermore, the BlueCart order management system empowers you to preemptively manage orders, determine your reorder point, and strategize for potential food supply chain disruptions.