|Contents: 1) What Is Baijiu? 2) Baijiu History 3) How Is Baijiu Made? 4) Baijiu Ingredients 5) Types Of Baijiu 6) Baijiu Facts & FAQs 7) How To Drink Baijiu 8) Pairing Baijiu With Food 9) Baijiu Cocktails 10) Popular Baijiu Brands|
|Country of origin||China|
|Alcohol by volume||28-65%|
|“Baijiu” in Chinese characters||白酒|
|Literal meaning||“white (clear) alcohol”|
A really fascinating stat is that out of the world’s top selling drinks brands, 4 out of the top 5 selling are Baijiu’s. Johnny Walker whisky makes it into 4th place but 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th are all baijiu brands (listed below).
Here are some unique facts about this little known (in the Western world) but at the same time very well known (in China and some neighbouring countries) Chinese liquor:
- Baijiu is old – although there is evidence of alcohol production stretching back 9000 years at Jiahu, China, baijiu as we know it began during the Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368), when distillation techniques were introduced from abroad into the local, domestic brewing process and the result was baijiu. (See: Baijiu History)
- The base technique – fermented grains are heated until the liquid turns to steam. The steam is then cooled; the liquid is then the basis for baijiu.
- Where is baijiu from? The 4 key aromas are from slightly different areas. Strong aroma baijiu is produced in Sichuan province, sauce aroma baijiu is also from Sichuan, often thought of as the home of Baijiu. Light aroma baijiu is traditionally produced across the north of China from east to west and is the most widely available due to price and ease of production (compared to sauce and strong aromas). Rice aroma baijiu is produced in Southern China, mainly the South-East (Guangxi and Guangdong primarily).
- Baijiu has high ABV – around 50% and some rise above 60% so it has to be treated with respect!
- Drinking culture – the more a person gets drunk on baijiu during business meetings (usually a company meeting/dinner), the more ‘face’ is given to that person. It is expected that whenever a toast is offered, you raise your glass but thankfully it is served in thimble sized wine goblets, not actual wine glasses! After saying “ganbei” and drinking, it is also considered polite to bring your glass lower than your drinking companion, indicating humility. Then you turn it upside down. With luck, you won’t have too many toasts but a bottle of water can be kept discreetly nearby for the odd round. (See: How To Drink Baijiu – Baijiu Drinking Culture)
- Baijiu is made differently to other spirits such as whisky, brandy and vodka – Unlike the other 3, baijiu is the only one to distill yeast in the process of making it and use solid grain material in the fermentation process.
- Every single brand of baijiu tastes different – because just one change of ingredient makes a huge difference it is not categorized the way that wines or whiskies are, so the 4 main styles are actually quiet broad in scope.
Baijiu is the biggest selling drink in the world – in fact, 5 of the top 10 spirits in the world are baijiu brands and remarkably, 4 of the top 5 are baijiu! Below are some precise numbers from 2018:
- 1 – Moutai / brand value – $21.2 billion
- 2 – Wuliangye / brand value – $14.6 billion
- 3 – Yanghe / brand value – $7.8 billion
- 4 – Johnny Walker / brand value – $4.3 billion
- 5 – Luzhou Laojiao / brand value – $3.8 billion
- 6 – Jack Daniels / brand value – $3.5 billion
- 7 – Hennessy / brand value – $3.3 billion
- 8 – Smirnoff / brand value – $3.2 billion
- 9 – Gujing Gong Jiu / brand value – $2.5 billion
- 10 – Bacardi / brand value – $2.4 billion
Apart from Smirnoff, only the baijiu brands have recorded an increase of over 50% brand value increase, so they are becoming more powerful and finally, more well-known to the rest of the world.
- By what other name is baijiu known as?
- Baijiu pronunciation – How?
- What is baijiu made of?
- What is baijius average alcohol content?
- How is baijiu made?
- What is Qu?
- What is the history of baijiu?
- How do you pronounce Qu?
- Baijiu price – How much does it cost?
- Baijiu brands – Which are the best?
- What does baijiu taste like?
- Where can I find baijiu for sale?
- What foods does baijiu pair with best?
- How do you drink baijiu?
- Baijiu cocktails – Do you have any recipes?