Home>News Center>Life

American drinkers warm to Beijing liquor
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-02 08:47

Ask any adult Beijinger about Erguotou, a grain-distilled white spirit with over 100 years of history, and you will probably get a smile.

And it may not be too long before Americans get the chance to sample a kind of Ergoutao that is considered the best of the best by Beijing's more discerning drinkers.

A deal has been clinched between Red Star Co Ltd, the producer of the Red Star Erguotou, and a US-based alcoholic drink sales company. The premier-grade Diamond Erguotou is set to become available to United States consumers and will specifically be marketed toward high-end cocktail drinkers.

It will follow four other lower-grade Erguotao products into the market.

Erguotou is the most popular white spirit in Beijing due to its affordable price, pure taste and solid reputation.

"It has become a local institution and become fashionable to drink it at home and in restaurants with family and friends," said Fan Qing, a foreign company employee who was born in Beijing and has lived in the city for 35 years.

A countless number of overseas visitors or expatriates living in Beijing are also familiar with the spirit.

"We often entertain our foreign clients with Erguotou, which receives a warm welcome," said Fan.

So far, the US company has ordered 20 tons of raw Red Star Erguotou. But the two sides are discussing the mix of Diamond Erguotou, which will be tailored to the American palate, and packaging, sources from Red Star revealed.

However, Red Star declined to disclose the name of the foreign partner, which is one of the five top alcoholic retailers in the United States, and the price of Diamond Erguotou.

"Many things are under discussion and negotiation," said Qiao Junguo, an official with Red Star's International Trade Department.

"We, of course, hope that Diamond Erguotou can be put into the market as soon as possible, but we are not sure of the exact timing."

Several of Red Star's lesser Erguotou products, which are in plain 750 millilitre, 375 millilitre and 200 millilitre bottles and a high-grade blue and white porcelain bottle, are already being sold in the United States.

"The Red Star Erguotou that comes in a plain bottle is sold at US$10 on average, while the blue and white bottle goes for more than US$30," said Qiao.

"The latter has sold well, with 600 bottles being sold out last year. Another 600 have been delivered to the United States."

At present, Erguotou is exported to around 10 nations and regions, such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Hungary.

"We export about 200 tons of Erguotou each year and the annual sales volume exceeds hundreds of thousands of US dollars," said Qiao.

Last year, Beijing Red Star Co Ltd produced 537.40 million tons of the spirit, with sales of 526 million yuan (US$63.37 million).

"Though the exported Erguotou only makes up a minor part of Red Star's output as a whole, it is all high-end stuff, whichhelps the brewer optimize its product structure and promote Chinese traditional products to the rest of the world," said Yan Ligang, a Beijing Commerce Bureau spokesman.

Despite being a hit abroad, Red Star's top-end products are not in such high demand at home.

  Today's Top News     Top Life News

Nation indignant over US arms sale to Taiwan



China to US: Stop spying in border areas



2008 Games to bring US$16b business



Flight insurance dispute soars



Technical standards updated to suit WTO



National power needs require investors


  Springtime sex in spotlight
  Glad to be gay?
  Beijing writers face a block
  American drinkers warm to Beijing liquor
  Minjiang ruins yield astounding FINDS
  A spiritual experience
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Looking for an excuse to drink?
Eat and drink in inner Mongolia
  Eric Clapton plays the devil's music