Baijiu’s conquest of the US begins in Houston, where entrepreneur Matt Trusch has created a specialty brand of the fiery Chinese liquor called ByeJoe, which is also what you say to someone who’s had more than two shots of the stuff. The Houston Business Journal reports:
“We wanted to make it as approachable and interesting to Americans as possible,” said Trusch, who also explained that he named his company Byejoe so Americans would be able to easily pronounce the alcohol’s name. “A billion Chinese people like to drink (baijiu), but we are the first to take it and reinvent it for the West.”
….As for where Byejoe’s baijiu is manufactured, the company gets baijiu from a Chinese distiller. However, this is not the same baijiu that is in your Byejoe bottle. The Chinese baijiu is shipped to another, high-tech distillery in South Carolina where the alcohol is further cleaned and distilled. Then, it is packed and shipped to stores as Byejoe.
While traditional Chinese baijiu is 50 percent to 60 percent alcohol, Byejoe is about 40 percent alcohol — similar to the alcohol percentage of vodka.
…..Trusch isn’t just bringing imported baijiu into America — with Byejoe, he’s making a specialty baijiu that is specifically targeted for Americans, including Asian Americans already familiar with the drink, Americans who want to do business in China and Americans who are looking for a more exotic drink.
However, seeing how past American reactions to Baijiu have been on par with someone opening a container of paint stripper, we’re not sure how big a splash the spirit will make. ByeJoe offers a special flavored variety, ByeJoe Dragon Fire, with dragon fruit, lychee and hot chillies, but this might prove less of a hit among businessmen than with first year college students looking to mask any alcohol with a nauseating fruit flavor, hence Absolut Cherrykran vodka.
ByeJoe is currently available in Texas and Florida.