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Maison Hardy owes its name to an authentic English gentleman, Anthony Hardy. Like any conscientious wine and spirit merchant, Hardy liked to get out of London as often as he could and head down to Charente to check on the progress of the finest Cognac crus. He finally succumbed to the region’s charms in 1863, relocating permanently and founding Maison Hardy.
As a mark of his great affection for France and the French, he went so far as to adopt the Gallic form of his Christian name, henceforth being known as Antoine Hardy. He also adopted the iconic French cockerel as the emblem of his new company. Antoine Hardy’s hard work and the quality of the results earned him respect and admiration in the Cognac region.
In 1869 his Cognac Fine Champagne was awarded the Diploma of Excellence at the Amsterdam exhibition, richly-deserved recognition of his commitment and passion for the ‘nectar of the gods’. By 1880, Anthony Hardy was already exporting his creations far and wide.
In 1891 the St. Petersburg Exhibition awarded the prestigious gold medal to Hardy’s ‘Cognac de l’Alliance’, created as a tribute to the longstanding alliance between France and Russia. Maison Hardy’s distinctive identity was beginning to take shape and win plaudits.
Valère Hardy died prematurely, shortly before the outbreak of the Great War. Armand, one of his five children, took up the reins of Maison Hardy. Armand would continue to guide the family business until 1957. Like his father, Armand Hardy focused much of his efforts on the Central European markets.
In 1945, three of Armand’s six children entered the family business: Philippe, Jacques, and Francis. In 1955 they were joined by their fourth brother, Jean-Antoine Hardy.Armand Hardy passed away in 1957, and Maison Hardy finally became a limited company with Jacques Hardy as managing director. New markets were beginning to open up in North America, South America, and Africa.
The cockerel was growing up. A Grande Champagne Cognac bottled by Jacques Hardy in 1983 was finally released, housed in a precious wooden case and captured in a special Caryota carafe, designed by Marie-Claude Lalique. Cuvée Bénédicte was released in a limited edition of 333 numbered bottles, each bearing the signature of Bénédicte Hardy, direct descendant of Antoine Hardy.
Bénédicte Hardy represents the fifth generation of Hardy Cognac makers. As Maison Hardy’s international ambassador, she has worked to build the company’s reputation in the USA.
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