What is Kweichow Moutai?
Kweichow Moutai has an unusual corporate structure. It is partially state-owned and partially listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
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Formed in 1999, Kweichowow Moutai is the world’s most valuable spirits company, having passed the UK-based diagnosis three years ago.
It manufactures and distributes a unique brand of Baijiu, a clear, colorless liquor that is considered the national spirit of China.
Baijiu typically has an alcohol content of between 35% and 60% by volume.
John Watkins, an alcohol industry expert who has worked extensively in China, said: “Doing shots with Moutai is part of the company culture and speeds up trust-building and friendships.”
Speaking about the manufacturer, he added: “It appears from the outside to be a well-managed company that will be able to generate sustainable and growing profits as China’s consumer market grows and has more and more purchasing power.”
Why is there such a high reputation?
Kweichow Moutai was a favorite drink of the Father of the Father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Father Mao Zedong, famously served to him at state dinners during US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972.
In 1974, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Deng Xiaoping, China’s future future leader, “I think if we drink enough Moutai, we can solve anything.”
Such glowing endorsements made Moutai the elite brand for the elite, a must-see at business banquets and a display of wealth and power.
“It’s considered a status symbol because of the high price and limited supply, which I think is part of Moutai’s marketing and sales strategy,” said David Liu, a Shanghai-based analyst and regular Baijiu drinker.
The history of this traditional Chinese liquor dates back over 2,000 years with a significant evolution during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) when Chinese distillers introduced advanced and unique techniques to process this distinctive type of liquor.
Maotai became the first Chinese liquor to be produced in large-scale production. The communist government consolidated many local distilleries into 1 state-owned company, Kweichowow Moutai (the name is an old romanization of “Guizhou Maotai”).
This company is located in the province of Guizhou, in the southwest of China, where the liquor distillery has a very long tradition.
Since its Gold award in 1915 at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, Moutai has shared the title of the top 3 distilled spirits in the world with Cognac Brandy from France and Whiskey from the Scottish highlands. However, it is the only one of the 3 that is distilling the yeast during its distillation process (7 times) and the only one that uses solid grain material in the fermentation process which makes this liquor even more special and unique.
With good reason, this high-end, multi-award-winning spirit was named China’s top liquor in 1951, two years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It has become the ultimate gift for special people and various celebrations. It is the only alcoholic beverage presented as an official gift from Chinese embassies in foreign countries and is used on many official occasions with foreign heads of state.