On June 8, 2008, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued a liquor import permit and wholesale license to Daniel and Christine Cooney, and Heavenly Spirits officially opened for business.
From the start, Cooney’s mission was to represent exceptional artisanal spirits produced in France. With relationships already established in the industry as spirits brokers, the Cooneys were able to get started immediately, distributing in six states with a dozen French spirit brands. Since then, Heavenly Spirits has grown steadily and consistently, representing today more than twenty producers in nearly forty states.
A year after the company was founded, Heavenly Spirits established itself as the leading importer of Armagnac in the United States, with brands such as Delord, Marie Duffau, Dartigalongue and Artez, a distinction they still hold today. today. Soon after, this husband and wife team grew from a two-person company to a twelve-person crew, as well as import leaders in several other French spirits categories including: Organic Cognac, Calvados organic and French Whisky.
Proud of the success it has achieved over the first fifteen years, the company continues to find new and innovative ways to connect with American spirits consumers, as well as through the publication of a newsletter quarterly and constantly updating their Heavenly Spirits catalog, available both in print and on their website.
When asked what they attribute their success to, Christine replies: “Unlike most traditional importers, Heavenly Spirits proudly builds and promotes our family of French spirits brands and the culture and know-how from which they stem. . In addition to being importers/distributors, we see ourselves as educators and ambassadors of the delights and pleasures of French spirit culture. The couple traveled all over the United States to conduct educational seminars and tastings.
People and relationships are the keys to the success of Heavenly Spirits. “Most of our suppliers are small to medium-sized, multi-generational family businesses, which we consider part of our family of authentic French spirits,” says Daniel, adding that their two sons, “Austin and Keenan are already involved in different aspects of the company’s activities. Austin recently served as Global Export Manager for one of the cognacs that Heavenly currently represents. Keenan recently graduated with a college degree in communications and will begin work toward an MBA in the fall.
The people who make these spirits are as important as the liquid in the bottle, because they are the people whose passion and craftsmanship translate into a high quality spirit in the glass. “The Heavenly family of producers is not just about how we represent their brands in the United States, but also about building relationships on French soil that drive creative collaboration,” says Daniel. Armorik, distiller of the first French whiskies, used a cask of Armagnac Dartigalongue to finish one of its single malts. Armorik Breton Single Malt Armagnac Cask Finish was the first single malt whiskey available in the United States to be finished in Armagnac casks, now a trend, and is bottled at 46% ABV. Their most recent producer collaboration just arrived in May, an 8-year-old Calvados XO Organic Cask Strength from Claque-Pépin, finished in organic Cognac casks from Distillerie Du Peyrat, just arrived in May.
And finally, Heavenly Spirits would not be where it is today without its growing and dedicated staff. “Everyone, from our salespeople and territory managers to our office and warehouse team, is invested in our business. As a company, we taste new products and everyone can express their point of view. This has strengthened our portfolio and our business and developed a very cohesive awareness of what sets Heavenly Spirits apart. We recently held a branding workshop and our entire team agreed that the word that best describes celestial spirits is our “authenticity”. This is as true for the French spirits we represent, as it is for the people who make them and our team who work so hard to educate and share them with American consumers,” adds Dan.
Asked about the future of the business, Dan replies: “As we reflect on the challenges and successes of the last fifteen years, we are also working on plans for future growth. The entire Heavenly team looks forward to building on our past successes as we find new and creative ways to introduce our exceptional spirits brands to increasingly passionate and discerning consumers in the US market. Next October, we are planning an invitation-only portfolio tasting hosted by the French Library in Boston, and we are also working on plans to bring interested parties to France, where they can learn more about how these amazing spirits are made. manufactured.
For more information on Celestial Spirits and the spirits they represent, please visit their website at: www.spiritsciel.com