In light of plummeting sales under China’s anti-extravagance campaign, maotai is following in the footsteps of other baijius and setting its sights on the West. However, in an unlikely twist, it won’t be targeting westerners, but rather wealthy Chinese travelers abroad, Jing Daily reports:
The company [Kweichow Moutai] recently announced that it will invest 8.79 million euros in Parisian real estate in order to expand its European business after slumping bottle prices, sales, and stocks. It hopes to boost its sales abroad to counterbalance a decline in mainland sales, and has already arranged for distribution in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, and sells bottles in duty-free stores. The spirit has also made it to one Chinese restaurant in Chicago, where it is served in a $25 cocktail.
However, rather than trying to get foreigners to take a liking to its distinctive taste, the main aim appears to be targeting wealthy Chinese travelers, who are heading abroad in greater numbers every year.
The company’s logic is that the overseas market is still fairly small, and the main customers abroad are mostly Chinese.
However, the Western palate is slowly becoming more acclimated to baijiu. Like Starbucks did with coffee to woo the Chinese market, American entrepreneurs are creating specialty flavored baijius geared towards westerners. Matt Trusch, founder of the company ByeJoe, offers a variety of the liquor called ByeJoe Dragon Fire with dragon fruit, lychee and hot chillies, which plays to our (somewhat sissy) American habit of masking liquor with sweet chasers.