Baijiu is a liquor (the word means white liquor) distilled in China that is sought after for official banquets and for gifts. Kweichow Moutai is probably the best known baijiu. Sales of the potent white spirit have risen in recent years, powered by a boom in the luxury market in China.

China's Baijiu makers eye overseas markets to increase revenues

Baijiu is distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice. Photo: Bloomberg

According to data from International Wine & Spirit Research, mainlanders drank more than 11 billion litres of baijiu last year, and the spirit, distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice, accounted for more than one-third of all spirits consumed in the world.

Friday, 31 May, 2013, 4:41am

Move over tequila, here comes baijiu

A customer walks past a glass case displaying Maotai liquor, a form of baijiu, at a supermarket in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Photo: Reuters

Chinese baijiu, a flammable, pungent white liquor averaging a 110-proof wallop, is the world’s most consumed form of liquor thanks to its popularity in China, but for the first time distillers are looking to develop export markets.

29 May 2013 - 9:04pm

Chinese distillers fined 449m yuan for price-fixing

The price of Kweichow Moutai's baijiu jumped 20 per cent last year. Photo: Imaginechina/Corbis

The two firms admitted on their official websites earlier that they had violated antimonopoly laws by charging penalties to distributors who sold their baijiu alcohol products at lower prices than the producers had required.

20 Feb 2013 - 5:24am

Baijiu sales hit by China's crackdown on extravagance

Baijiu is traditionally drunk during Lunar New Year. Photo: Bloomberg

Baijiu, particularly the more expensive brands, was not in great demand this festive season as a result of the central government's crackdown on extravagance ahead of the Lunar New Year, said Liu Yuan, the secretary-general of the China National Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation. As a result, liquor retailers were heavily discounting their stock.

13 Feb 2013 - 5:33am

SABMiller thirsts for China market

A bottle of Kweichow Moutai, Chinas national liquor

For those who don't follow the China liquor market too closely, baijiu makers have been under pressure since the beginning of the year, when media first began reporting that their products contained unsafe levels of plasticisers.

6 Feb 2013 - 12:44pm

Spirit of free enterprise

Mao-tai is at a crossroads. Prices for the highly alcoholic drink have collapsed after a de facto ban on its use at official functions.

Meanwhile, global luxury brands are circling the market and snapping up stakes in distillers that make sorghum-based spirits.

18 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

The loneliness of a long-distance worker

Xu Guanghui had not seen his family for two years when he sat down for a celebratory feast in Luzhou, Sichuan province. The 34-hour bus journey over bumpy roads to get to his family from his job in Guangdong had taken its toll, and he was apprehensive about the homecoming.

3 May 2012 - 12:00am

Starter's road map to world of business

It has been just under 20 years since Belgian Jack Leblanc heeded a call to go to China and arrived in Chongqing with a suitcase of science books to teach at a university. The freshly minted nuclear physics graduate had abandoned the prospect of a car and a house in the Brussels suburbs for the unknowns of the teeming, riverside metropolis.

20 Apr 2009 - 12:00am

Fondness for a tipple keeps stills on the boil

Several toasts into a long dinner for visiting reporters, an official in the old steel town of Benxi is inspired to share a traditional saying from northeastern China: 'If you have liquor without food, it can be bad for your health. But if you have food without liquor, then you don't have any liquor.'

17 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

Xu Weiqing

Former printer Xu Weiqing was quick to spot a gap in the market and opened a small store selling foreign-brand liquor in the increasingly popular yet traditional area of Jiaodaokou, in the heart of Beijing.

30 Apr 2008 - 12:00am

Strain spotting

Wang Kun owns a successful import-export company in Dandong, Liaoning province, near the North Korean border. He's also in hospital, suffering from exhaustion and high blood pressure. And he hasn't even turned 40.

3 Oct 2007 - 12:00am

Grape expectations

Beijing has been witnessing huge growth in the wine industry in recent years, with rising numbers of expatriate palates yearning to be satisfied. Bulk e-mails from all sorts of wine companies and ads in expat magazines tantalise potential customers with wine-related events, the free delivery of cases of fine wines and special buffet lunches with wine as the main lure.

17 Apr 2006 - 12:00am

Airing her grievances

Ah, the sounds of dining out in Beijing: the 'clink' of cup after cup of baijiu; the raised voices; the spitting out of bones, saliva and more; the shouting matches and near fights over who pays the bill. Above it all, however, are the shouts of xiao jie! ('waitress!') that echo throughout the room.

21 Mar 2005 - 12:00am

Old tipple misses spirit of the times

Shanghainese business travellers to Beijing or other northern cities often fear entertaining clients who have a fondness for bai jiu - Chinese white spirit.

Unlike northerners who know how to handle their drink, Shanghainese find bai jiu too strong for their liking.

9 Jul 1999 - 12:00am

Modern tastes threaten spirit of tradition

For thousands of years, Chinese have drunk spirits with meals and during festivals.

Traditional drinkers are fond of white spirits (or baijiu ) which are high in alcohol content.

11 Apr 1996 - 12:00am