|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) Baijiu Top Ten Brands|
|Country of origin||China|
|Alcohol by volume||28-65%|
|“Baijiu” in Chinese characters||白酒|
|Literal meaning||“white (clear) alcohol”|
Baijiu Top Ten Brands
We have listed the top ten baijiu brands to give you a ‘flavour’ of the ones most likely to be found in stockists. This covers all of the main Baijiu ‘aromas’ – sauce, strong, light, rice – and the prices vary greatly!
1 – Moutai Baijiu
Taking in both Kweichow Moutai and Moutai Flying Fairy – although the brand success is very much down to Kweichow Moutai – these Moutai sauce aroma Baijius are so famous and such a huge part of Chinese culture that it almost deserves a unique category – and many regard it as such. Based in Sichuan province (the home of sauce and strong aromas), the brand is the most valuable in the world, at a whopping $21.2 billion. Around 53% ABV.
2 – Wuliangye Baijiu
Worth $14.6 billion, Wuliangye is a strong aroma baijiu brand which is the second biggest drinks brand in the world today. Wuliangye is actually a blend too! This might not be so surprising to drinkers of other types of spirit. After all, although malt whisky has a certain respect and distinction, it does not outsell the likes of Johnny Walker, the world’s biggest whisky brand and a blended one too. Wuliangye has 3 distinctive ranges at different ABV content – 45%, 52% and 68% respectively.
3 – Yanghe Baijiu
Worth $7.8 billion, Yanghe has several product lines, listed below first:
Dream Blue Series: Dream Blue M3, Dream Blue M6, Dream Blue M9, Dream Blue International – these are seen as the high-end series with liquor stored underground for centuries according to their website
Yanghe Spirit Classic Series: Ocean Blue, Sky Blue, 5A Ocean Blue, 5A Sky Blue – these are seen as the mid-range, affordable and regular Yanghe ranges in the stable of sub-brands
Yanghe Daqu Azure: According to their site, this has been made since 581AD so if that is the case, it predates Baijiu’s Yuan Dynasty by over 500 years? But it’s a USP they promote and is known as a national level liquor
Yanghe Molecule: A relatively new Baijiu that Yanghe have been making for over 5 years now. Lower ABV from 33 – 43% too
Yanghe and Shuanggou Daqu: These 2 are part of the vintage products range and like most of the other Yanghe sub brands, come in at between 38% and 52% ABV
Mellow Sujiu Green: ABV of 40 – 52%. Looks fantastic in a green and white bottle.
Ecological Sujiu Series: Based on the concepts of ecology. It is another cool sub-brand in the Yanghe series of brands, giving them a choice of leverage in the market.
So as you can see, Yanghe has many sub-brands which really add to their market share.
4 – Luzhou Laojiao Baijiu
In the series are: Luzhou Laojiao Da Chu Chiew, Tou Qu, Te Qu, Tequ Laojiao, Jialong 60 years, 100 years, Zisha Daqu, Er Qu, Lu Xiaoer, Lu Daren.
It really depends what you go for – Tequ Laojiao is available via Dan Murphys for $100 while 100 years is available for about $45 and comes in 750ml vs Tequ at 500ml. The 100 years or Bainian as it is known, seems to be the main seller in the stable so it will cost $45 roughly. With sales of $3.8 billion, it is the world’s 5th biggest drinks brand.
5 – Gujing Gongjiu Baijiu
From Anhui province, this is a strong aroma Baijiu that sells a bit cheaper than the likes of Moutai. Prices can vary up to $40 but if you shop around you can bag some prices even lower than the ones mentioned. An old baijiu, its history goes back to 1515 AD and the name Gong means tribute to the emperor.
6 – Lang Jiu Baijiu
Lang Jui is another strong aroma baijiu from Sichuan, close to Moutai in fact. Quite a young company at just over 100 years old, Lang Jiu is also the only Baijiu brand to produce 3 different “fragrances” – sauce, thick (strong) and layered fragrances. Usually it is over 50% ABV, similar to other major selling baijius.
7 – Jiannanchun Baijiu
According to sources, Jiannanchun or Jian Nan Chun was first brewed as long as 2000 years ago although again this probably refers to the precursor of true Baijiu – which as we know came into prominence around the 1200’s AD. It does have an excellent legend saying how the ‘Immortal Poet’ Li Bai pawned his minx vest to pay for a drink. One dreads to think how often that minx vest was even washed as Li Bai lived from 701 – 762 AD!
8 – Xifengjiu Baijiu
Xi Feng Jiu is one of the oldest baijius around, with an age quoted as much as 2000 years ago. The name originates from the name of the town – Fengxiang – meaning where the ‘phoenixes took flight’. And as such the brand means West Phoenix Spirit. It is accessible online through various retailers.
9 – Fenjiu Baijiu
A Baijiu from Shanxi province, this actually won a gold medal back in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, bringing some early awareness to the Western world. It goes through a double fermentation and distillation period, allowing the sweet, soft flavours to develop. Prices can actually vary from the standard bottle around $50 right up to the 30 year old, retailing online at $168 a bottle. At 48% ABV, this might even be considered an easy-going light aroma baijiu, as they are generally above 50% and sometimes above 60% ABV.
10 – Shui Jing Fang Baijiu
Founded in 1408, Shui Jing Fang is almost 40% owned by Diageo. In summer 2018, they had approached the directors to increase their stake to 60%. Diageo has a controlling stake in the parent company, SJF Holdco and they have taken the long view of investing to ensure their baijiu foothold is as strong as the aroma it produces (strong aroma!). Shui Jing Fang is also listed as the oldest brewery in the world by Guinness Book of Records.