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Moutai captures China's true spirit

By Richard Lim | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-08 10:11

In 1958, at a meeting in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Mao Zedong set an annual production target for Moutai of 10,000 metric tons. It would take 45 years for the distillery to meet that target, but from 2003 to 2011, production jumped from 10,000 tons to more than 30,000 tons and is expected to reach 40,000 tons in 2014.

When drunk regularly and in moderation, Moutai is said to protect the stomach and liver, organs that other alcohol commonly damages, according to independent scientific studies commissioned out by the plant in Moutai.

The honorary chairman of Kweichow Moutai Group, Ji Keliang, who spent a lifetime at the plant and transformed it from a simple workshop to a sophisticated production facility, is good testament to such health claims. At 76, he is still spry and trim and looks younger than his years. At a recent meeting with China Daily, he said that he still drinks the liquor each day.

Nestled in a deep valley among surrounding mountains, the town of Moutai acts as a natural cellar.

This geographical factor, together with its soil, the red sorghum it is made from and the water of the Chishui River, makes it impossible to replicate the liquor elsewhere in China or other parts of the world.

Just like modernizing China, Moutai is a blend of tradition and technological innovation.

There is no better liquor in the country to use to wish others "gan-bei", the Chinese equivalent of "cheers".

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