Baijiu producers look to make splash overseas

By Ye Jun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-09-27 07:26:54

Baijiu, or "clear liquor", is China's national drink and the world's most-consumed spirit by volume.

Baijiu producers look to make splash overseas

A place designed to raise the capital's spirits 

However, the drink has few fans outside China. "Most foreigners don't like baijiu," says Jim Boyce, a Canadian wine blogger in Beijing. "To a lot of foreigners who've tried it, baijiu smells like gasoline, and tastes like gasoline most of them hate it."

Boyce, who has lived in China for nine years, is an exception, and he writes about the liquor on his popular blog, Grape Wall of China. Like many expats, Boyce didn't like baijiu the first time he tried it. But after he sampled a few different varieties, the drink began to grow on him.

Many foreigners don't like baijiu just because it's too strong, Joyce says. A bottle of unblended baijiu is 50 to 60 percent alcohol by volume, while vodka and whiskey is around 40 percent. Some baijiu are watered down to 38 percent or lower, which makes it easier to stomach.

"All spirits take longer for people to appreciate, like straight gin," says Boyce.

Baijiu, which was invented around 2,000 years ago, goes through a complicated production process, giving it a special aroma and flavor. Chinese people consume 10 million kiloliters every year, according to Song Shuyu, deputy secretary general of the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association.

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