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#1 2018-04-10 06:47:48

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A showcase of bottles of baijiu made in Shanxi province Authentic Oscar Lindberg Jersey , known for its famous liquor brand Fenjiu, in an exhibition room in the ancient town of Pingyao.[Photo provided to China Daily] [Photo provided to China Daily] [Photo provided to China Daily] [Photo provided to China Daily]
That's the message behind World Baijiu Day, as a Beijing blogger tries to cut through global misperceptions about the world's most-consumed spirit. Mike Peters reports.


Jim Boyce is not on a mission to make foreigners like baijiu.


That might surprise fans of his Beijing-based nightlife and wine blogs, where he's been eagerly promoting his upcoming World Baijiu Day and posting fun little stories about his visits to distilleries of China's high-octane white spirit.


"I can't control whether someone will like baijiu," he says, adding that his goal is to simply get people to try it.


That's not always easy, even with foreigners in China who see Chinese pounding room-temperature shots of 55-proof white lightning with shouts of ganbei!


"A lot of laowai (foreigners in China) say the stuff tastes like kerosene or old socks Authentic Cody Eakin Jersey ," Boyce acknowledges. "But how many of us developed our taste for gin or vodka by drinking lots of it at room temperature?"


That's why Boyce is pushing the bars and restaurants participating in his global event on Aug 8 to be innovative with China's national liquor.


One Beijing eatery has been testing "deep-fried baijiu", made by soaking chunks of angel-food cake in the spirit before tossing in hot oil. A craft brewer will use qu, the "starter" that baijiu makers use to turn grain into alcohol, to make a special beer for the occasion. There are plans to use baijiu in ice cream, cocktails and infusions. Baijiu brownies, anyone?


If that all sounds mad, Boyce says Authentic Reilly Smith Jersey , consider a West-to-East experiment that has been a huge hit in Chinese bars: Chivas mixed with sweet green tea.


Where the girls are


One fan of Boyce's idea, Matt Trusch, is a native of Houston, Texas, who became a fan of baijiu during a long stay in China as a student and entrepreneur. Today, he says, he's the biggest maker of the white spirit in the United States. His product Authentic Brendan Leipsic Jersey , Bye Joe, is sold in 15 states and sports a winking temptress on the label; it comes in two infused flavors (Dragon Fire and Tiger Eyes) as well as the meatier original Red, with a more robust sorghum flavor.


"You can see the future by looking at who's drinking baijiu in China and who's drinking it in America," says Trusch.


"In China, the demographic is 99-percent Chinese, 60 to 70 percent 40 or older, and about the same percentage male. Baijiu drinkers in the US Authentic Colin Miller Jersey , however, are 55 percent female, only 50 percent are ethnic Chinese, and 70 percent are under 35."


The young, usually female drinker is what Trusch calls the "pioneer drinker", eager to try something new. Besides offering them infused liquor store and clever cocktails, Trusch says the key is to cut the alcohol level.


"What works is matching the alcohol levels of other spirits Authentic Deryk Engelland Jersey ," Trusch tells China Daily during a quick visit to Beijing and Shanghai recently. "Forty percent is our starting point, with our Red brand, and while our infused brands are 35 percent alcohol. The original Chinese formula of about 55 percent is just unpalatable in the Western market, and it doesn't work in cocktails - the proportion is just all wrong."


Into the mix


Can baijiu find a place on trendy bar shelves globally, alongside fine sakes and tequilas?


Boyce notes that several baijiu makers are operating in the West, with strategies like Trusch's. And Chinese makers, seeing their huge market share shrink at home Alex Tuch Jersey , as the government cracks down on lavish parties and gift-giving, are looking at foreign drinkers with new interest. Some are even making their own versions of 40-percent baijiu for export.


"They will eventually market that way at home," Boyce predicts. Young people in China aren't drinking what their parents did, opting for the hipper, lighter and creative bar offerings abroad, he says.


"The baijiu makers here will respond to that," he says. "These guys didn't get rich by being dummies."


Baijiu: Made in America


Said to be the only baijiu made entirely in the United States Nate Schmidt Jersey , Vinn Baijiu is made from brown rice in Portland, Oregon. The family patriarch, Phan Ly, brought his seven-generation-old recipe to the US when he moved his ethnically Chinese family from Vietnam in 1979. "Vinn" is the common middle name of his five children, who now run the business and produce mijiu (rice liquor), baijiu and vodka that's sold in the US Pacific Northwest. His daughter Michelle Ly talks about what it takes to sell baijiu in America.


Your alcohol level is 40 percent. Compared to about 55 percent in China, is that reduction key to appealing to Western drinkers?


We still don't know Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , but baijiu is already so unfamiliar to the Western drinkers. We thought that bringing the alcohol-by-volume down to match the market would make it much more palatable.


Are cocktails the way to market baijiu products to non-Chinese?


It seems to be the way the Western drinkers prefer their spirits. So often, we will introduce our baijiu in a cocktail to new customers. However, we do explain how baijiu is traditionally drank and some of our customers have adopted that style.


Did you always like baijiu?


There are many brands and styles of baijiu out there. Some are really good and some go against our palates. Because our family has been making baijiu from rice for so long, that is the style we prefer.


Will you be involved in any World Baijiu Day events?


We are currently trying to coordinate an event in Portland.


What do Oregonians have to say about baijiu?


At first, it was tough to get people to try it, but now Solid Advice When It Come.

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2018-04-10 06:47:48

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