Truly enjoying baijiu is an artform. This is why China is host to unofficial ‘training centres’, in which seasoned baijiu enthusiasts which teach younger citizens how to drink – and toast with – the spirit. This is considered a critical part of Chinese culture, as baijiu is so often used to cement business deals and boost interpersonal relationships with state figures.
Sadly, many people will now need to look elsewhere for this education. The Shandong province has been cracking down on this practice. 67 different businesses have been punished for illegal practices and forced to shut down. Among these are eight drinking centres.
Sorry, students of China. You will need to find alternative teachers on the art of consuming this celebrated spirit.
Baijiu-related criminal activity appears to be quite the issue in Shandong. Another recent incident saw a man arrested for stealing 21 bottles of Moutai – the official state baijiu of China. The haul was worth around 31,000 yuan (£3,500.)
This was no crime of desperation, enacted in the heat of the moment. Following his arrest, the man was found to have kept extremely detailed – and beautifully handwritten – notes on how to tell the difference between real and counterfeit Moutai.
As genuine Moutai can sell for up to 1,500 yuan (£175), this is a distinction worth making. Unfortunately for the thief in question, he will not be able to profit from his expertise.