Grand cru (food and drink)

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The Trappist Chimay Brewery's Grand Cru cheese

The term grand cru is used in a non-official context in the names of some products, particularly beer, chocolate, whiskey and cognac, to denote a high-quality product. While the term grand cru is well defined with respect to vineyards, its use with respect to other products is unregulated.


In the 1980s, French chocolatiers responded to rising global competition by creating a new marketing message aiming to promote the "genuineness" of French chocolate. Some of the terms they used in this marketing included "vintage" and "grand cru".[1] The grand cru designation signifies that the beans in a bar all come from a certain country or region.[2]

Since the introduction of the grand cru, a new classification has arisen, that of the premier cru, which designates that the cocoa in a bar is sourced from a specific area, such as a plantation, within a country or region. A premier cru chocolate is typically considered to be of higher quality than a grand cru. This contrasts with the corresponding use of the terms in the wine market, where a grand cru wine is esteemed more highly than a premier cru.[2]


This term has been used for beers, especially in Belgium, to indicate a more elaborate version of a brand.[3] InBev produces a more complex version of Hoegaarden called Hoegaarden Grand Cru,[3] while the Rodenbach Brewery produces a Rodenbach Grand Cru.[4] Lindemans Brewery make a gueuze and a kriek beer under the name Cuvée René Grand Cru.[5]

Many breweries in the United States have also begun producing beers labeled "Grand Cru" to denote a limited production of a special or higher quality beer. A few examples are Avery Brewing Company's The Beast Grand Cru Ale,[6] AleSmith Brewing Company's Grand Cru,[7] Allagash Brewing Company's Allagash Grand Cru.,[8] , Ale Asylum's Mercy Grand Cru and Wiseacre Brewing Company's Unicornucopia Grand Cru


The term "Grand Cru" is also used by Nespresso to refer to the flavours of its coffee capsules.[9]

The Trappist brewery Chimay makes a Grand Cru cheese.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James L. Watson, Melissa L. Caldwell The cultural politics of food and eating page 145
  2. ^ a b "Gourmet Chocolate". The Food Buster. Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter - Europe's stylish summer whites". Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter - Rodenbach juggles its tuns". Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  5. ^ (French) Lindemans Brewery - Cuvée René
  6. ^ Age Verification - Avery Brewing Company
  7. ^ Grand Cru « AleSmith
  8. ^ Allagash Brewing Company - Age verification
  9. ^ Company website, Nestlé Nespresso SA