As Western wine floods China, Chinese baijiu, the 80-120 proof sorghum liquor that makes you feel like fire ants have colonized your esophagus, starts to trickle into Western markets, China Daily reports.
Last month, London-based Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company, got approval from Chinese authorities to buy the remaining 47 percent stake of Swellfun, which is the joint venture partner to Diageo. The acquisition of the stake will give Diageo a full indirect control to 39.7 percent from 21 percent.
Baijiu’s popularity won’t skyrocket overnight, however, for though it is China’s favorite liquor, accounting for 11 billion purchases in 2012, it has yet to win over the Western palate. James Rice, the GM of Swelfun, states “Americans aren’t used to the fragrance of baijiu or drinking room temperature shots.”
Rice claims that serving the shots cold, or as part of cocktails, will help woo American drinkers. Conversely, the reason why many Western drinks flounder in China is because they’re meant for cocktails or “cocktail hour,” an alien concept to many Chinese. Baijiu producers have already started exporting Baijiu cocktails to the US.
They may want to hold off on going the wine route and pairing baijiu with Western food, however, unless we want to see combos like baijiu with bangers and mash.
[Image credit: @bastianelli]