The name Hartmann does not sound French, or Norwegian for that matter. It’s quite clear that Birkedal Hartmann, which, until this day is a Norwegian-owned company, has a very interesting history that should be told in detail… In fact, Christopher Hartmann was of German descent, he came from Braunschweig, which in 1570 actually belonged to the Kingdom of Denmark. Himself and his successors would mainly be involved in fighting great battles for decades to come, for the Danish and later the French, until at some point Halfdan Birkedal Hartmann would return to France for good. He had undergone a high education in Denmark and worked for the London-based spirits company N.F. Larsons and sons. His dream was to move to France and found his own business.
He finally arrived in Cognac in 1887 to launch the companies Birkedal Hartmann and Hartmann Fils et Freres, both of which quickly flourished. Halfdan also had a great love for wine and soon got involved in the wine trade, bottling all the great Bordeaux wines, from Mouton Rothschild to Lafite Rothschild to Chateau Margaux. He was a very active man in the region, respected as the Danish-Norwegian Consul as well as a member of the Scandinavian Cognac Society.
The connection to Denmark and Norway would always play an important role in this company’s legacy. In 1940, Halfdan’s son, Poul Morgens Birkedal Hartmann took over the business, but was soon called to Vichy, France’s headquarter government during World War 2. He was also politically active, just like his father. The companies in Cognac and Bordeaux remained without a leader for some time, but managed to overcome this critical period. On his return, Poul Morgens continued running the company and his son Ivan supported him in traveling the world to further build up the brand internationally in the 50s and 60s.
The latest addition to the long family tradition is Kim Birkedal Hartmann, a visionary businessman and cognac connoisseur. He joined the company in 1985 and started introducing new products to the traditional range. For example, he launched two sparkling wines, Chamdeville and Paul Chamblain, which would later be acquired by Marie Brizard and Rémy. His pride lies in continuing this Norwegian family-run business in France and holding on to its core values while at the same time opening up to new and exciting developments in the international market. Only recently did he engage world-famous rapper Chris Bridges aka Ludacris in creating his very own cognac: CONJURE Cognac. Kim Birkedal Hartmann together with renowned master blender, Philippe B. Tiffon, sure ventured to new territory - With great commercial success!
Birkedal Hartmann's range includes a VSOP, an XO and Halfdan Extra Gammel, named after the founding father of the cognac house.
The marketing hit of Kim Birkedal Hartmann was without doubt CONJURE Cognac. Recently, there have been successful developments of the brand into markets beyond the US and Scandinavia. Even in Paris, which ironically is renowned to be a difficult territory for launching cognac, CONJURE seems to have found an interesting consumer base.