Jas Hennessy & Co., or more simply Hennessy, is a cognac house with headquarters in Cognac, France. Jas Hennessy & Co. sells about 50 million bottles a year worldwide, or more than 40 percent of the world’s cognac, making it the world’s largest cognac producer. It is owned by Moët Hennessy, which is in turn owned by LVMH (66%) and Diageo (34%).
The Hennessy cognac distillery was founded by Irishman Richard Hennessy in 1765. During the 1970s, Kilian Hennessy, a fifth generation direct descendent of Hennessy, became the CEO of Hennessy, succeeding his first cousin Maurice-Richard. Kilian Hennessy spearheaded the company’s 1971 merger with Moët et Chandon, which created Moët Hennessy.
Moët Hennessy merged with Louis Vuitton in 1987, creating one of the world’s largest luxury brand conglomerates, Louis Vuitton • Moët-Hennessy or LVMH. In 1988, a management crisis led to the group’s takeover by Bernard Arnault, owner of the haute couture house Christian Dior, with the support of Guinness. Kilian Hennessy remained on the company’s advisory board until his death in 2010 at the age of 103.