China's Baijiu Hitting US Market

Staff Writer
Hot shot Diageo is looking to bring the strong liquor Stateside

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Baijiu might be the next big booze in the United States.

Looks like the U.S. market might be hit with a new type of alcohol; CNBC reports that London booze bigashot Diageo is planning to gradually bring China's baijiu to the American market.

Baijiu, a sorghum liquor, is a transparent, high-alcohol drink often served in shots at room temperature or warm. Compared to vodka or rum, which are about 40 percent ABV, baijiu typically falls within the 50 to 65 percent range.

Diageo, CNBC reports, bought a controlling stake in Chinese brand Shui Jing Fang last year, and now it plans to bring the liquor to the United States market; 10 percent of Shui Jing Fang's sales are already made outside of China, Diageo says.

Interestingly enough, baijiu is the world's largest spirit category by sales; in 2012, the market earned $93.4 billion sales according to the International Wine and Spirit Research group. To compare, vodka earned $48.9 billion in sales.

In China, however, reports have found that baijiu intake has decreased drastically, thanks to the popularity of beer and wine in the summertime. Come winter, however, when everyone wants to be a bit more warm and buzzed, the intake will increase, The Drinks Business says.

Stateside, the market is gradually growing. Diageo plans to first sell baijiu in international airports before heading to local retail; other distilleries in the States like Byejoe Spirits USA and Vinn Distillery are also creating baijiu for Americans (albeit with lower ABV levels). Considering the normal levels of alcohol in a standard shot of baijiu, we imagine the college demographic might be a target market.

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