The fifth largest cognac house and the biggest family-owned cognac company, Camus was founded with grand aspirations as “La Grande Marque” by wine maker Jean-Baptiste Camus in 1863 when he organised a group of producers to sell cognac under one name. He later added his own name and despite its size, the company remains a family concern with Cyril Camus, great-great grandson of Jean-Baptiste now managing the company.
Jean-Baptiste Camus (1835–1901) was an independent winegrower and distiller who sold his cognac to larger cognac houses until 1863 when he set up a consortium of producers with stocks to guarantee a quality of mature cognac to sell under La Grande Marque name. Jean-Baptiste bought his partners’ shares to create Camus La Grande Marque.
Brothers Edmond (1859–1933) and Gaston Camus (1865–1945) were the sons of Jean-Baptiste. Edmond, his eldest son, started in the company as a Master Blender in 1894. He drove quality and innovation and was among the first to sell cognac in labelled bottles instead of barrels. His younger brother, Gaston, joined the company in 1896 and dramatically improved export sales, particularly to Russia, where Camus became the official cognac of the Court of the last Tsar.
Michel Camus (1911–1985) joined the house in 1932 when he was only 21 and is noted for establishing Camus' important duty free business in the early 1960s, particularly by creating gift presentations with Limoges porcelain and Baccarat crystal decanters. He was the first to promote Napoléon quality cognac in a signature frosted bottle.
Jean-Paul Camus (born 1945) joined the company in 1977 to help his father as Master Blender. Focussing mainly on Borderies, he purchased new vineyards, distilleries and increased the house’s storage capacity. Like his father, Michel, he concentrated on duty-free sales and the Asia-Pacific region. Camus Napoleon became the best-selling cognac in Japan.
Cyril Camus (born 1971) completed his degree in business at Babson College in the US before joining Camus in 1994 as the company’s Trade Relations Director in Beijing, China. He returned to Cognac in 1998 as Marketing Director and developed the house’s signature Borderies XO. He took over from his father as President in 2004 and subsequently developed the Camus Elegance range.