Moutai baijiu – the blend created, bottled and sold by Kweichow Moutai Co, Ltd in the town of the same name – has long been considered China’s national liquor. So much so, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for assuming that this was an official designation. In truth, this not the case. An attempt to apply a trademark to this effect has been rejected.
Such a status is decided, controlled and ultimately bestowed by China’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SIAC). Since 2001, Kweichow Moutai Co, Ltd have been launching attempts to trademark their product with appropriately grand registration. Ten attempts have been launched and roundly rejected on each instance. Now, it appears, that the manufactures have accepted their fate.
The consumption of alcohol is a way of life in China. Referred to as, “ganbei culture”, people are encouraged to drink heartily and regularly at social occasions – especially when enjoying baijiu. Unfortunately for one police officer in Mabu Village, part of the Jiangxi Province, there was a heavy price to pay for such decadence.
Chen was a 38-year-old officer of the law attending a party in Mabu. It is believed that Chen initially arrived at his destination on official business, but after concluding his workload, he began socialising with locals. This led to countless cries of, “ganbei!” – loosely translated, “bottoms up!”
If you have never heard of Maotai, you soon will. This baijiu is a pivotal drink in its native land. Let’s take a look at the key facts that surround this most reputable of spirits.
There is no denying Moutai is an incredibly great baijiu.
Moutai is ingrained in Chinese culture, there is nothing more Chinese than Moutai other than the Chinese people themselves. In China Moutai is an institution in its own right, it is a premium luxury brand that oozes opulence. It is considered by many in China as an investment commodity as well as a huge gainer of face. Moutai is the biggest and wealthiest baijiu brand in the world.
Just because your the biggest does not mean your the best…
It is impossible to understate just how valuable Kweichow Moutai is as a brand. It is claimed that annual sales top US$10 billion, with 70,000 tonnes of Kweichow Moutai shipped each year. This is aided by Kweichow Moutai’s reputation as the premier baijiu brand for consumers and collectors alike. This baijiu boasts a 56% share of the premium baijiu marketplace, ensuring that anybody able to afford a high-quality liquor will invariably turn to Kweichow Moutai. Just 9% of sales come directly from consumers, though. The remaining business is conducted with wholesalers and distributors.
So given the sheer size and financial clout of Kweichow Moutai how can any baijiu brand compete with this corporate monster? The short answer is they can’t. No baijiu brand can match Kweichow Moutai’s brands awareness in China and their huge marketing budget.
RONG TAI HE (RTH), the Original Maotai since 1879 and forerunner to Kweichow Moutai started from 1952, unsurprisingly won Double Gold at this year’s International Spirits Challenge (ISC), a highly respected and much anticipated event in international spirits’ annual calendar. Not only did RTH win a long overdue recognition, after receiving Gold at 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it definitively excelled other baijius, including world renowned brand, from China too.
When we think of Yorkshire, baijiu is hardly the first beverage that springs to mind. Most of us would picture a Yorkshire resident enjoying a chilled pint of bitter, or a steaming mug of strong tea. Stereotypes are made to be broken, though – especially by Baijiu Society, a brewery based in Rydale.
Baijiu Society are bringing a fresh spin to China’s national liqueur, aiming to bring it to mainstream attention throughout the UK and beyond. Business is already booming thanks to exports to China and Hong Kong, where company CEO Craig Butler was formerly based.
It is no exaggeration to say that the price of a relatively scarce bottle of an old baijiu is comparable to that of a decent size house.
For example, the estimated value can be up to 3 million yuan for a 50 year old bottle of Maotai. Whether buying baijiu to start a collection or to be consumed in the future it will require correct storage no matter if its for one, three or ten years. Only good quality baijiu will stand the test of time. In terms of flavor, the sauce flavor is the first choice for long term storage, which is the reason why a bottle of Feitian Maotai is difficult to find. Other aroma types are classified according to the actual situation. Experienced senior collectors say: If baijiu is stored for 3-5 years then sauce aroma baijiu is preferred, followed by strong aroma baijiu and thirdly is light aroma baijiu.
Baijiu producers in mainland China have started producing bottles of high strength alcohol to be used in the medical industry to help fight against the current Wuhan coronavirus.
The Wei He factory located in Linqing city in China’s Shandong province recalled their work force back from their Chinese new year holiday to start immediate production and withing days had produced 1000,000 bottles of 75% alcohol to be donated as quickly as possible to medical staff across China.
Llinqing city’s front line staff battling against the virus were given the first batch on Wednesday.
The 109-year-old granny in the Chinese countryside likes to drink baijiu daily. She received 10 bottles during the Spring Festival.
The old woman’s name is Cheng Fengying. The old woman said that her nominal age is 109 this year. Older rural people like to report their ages like this. In fact, she is really 108 years old. She has no children and all her life and has lived in the countryside. She drinks 2 cups of baijiu every morning, goes to the village to chat at noon and sometimes plays mahjong. She is not deaf, blind and is healthy. She is a blessed person and has caught up with the new era.
The old woman said that when she was in her 80’s her husband died, leaving half a bottle of Baijiu. She felt a little bored at home one day, so she wanted to taste the Baijiu. Initially she didn’t think it tasted good. Over the next few days she drank a few more mouthfuls and eventually became addicted to it. She has drank it now for nearly 30 years, and is now 108 years old.
Two couples in Xi’an are under investigation from making and selling counterfeit baijiu, police found 412 bottles of liquor worth nearly 90,000 yuan
The accused purchased a batch of low priced baijiu and packed them in to premium baijiu bottles. After packaging, the baiju was put up for sale on the Internet.
On the evening of January 13, Mawang Market Supervision Office of Xixi received a letter from Dengfeng, Henan, to assist in the investigation of counterfeit baijiu cases.
After thorough investigation, a genuine baijiu supplier named Ma came forward and explained that he contacted a baijiu supplier via a mobile phone number given out over the internet. After a deal had been arranged between Ma and the seller, the seller produced counterfeit baijiu.