Monday, November 25, 2013

Shui Fang Jing: Baijiu on the rocks

Shui Fang Jing
From all the products and industries in China trying to go global, the baijiu - Chinese liquor smelling sometimes like nail polish - seemed to be the least likely one. Even in China, anti-corruption and a general dislike of the explosive drink, it is out of grace. But Shui Fang Jing is going to change that, it hopes.
A bottle of Shui Fang Jing came by accident in my hands a few days ago, as a friend had picked it up at New York airport. I'm not sure it is actually sold in China. First, it looked like it would mainly focus on its nice package and sensational decorations. But no, the idea is you are going to drink it. The marketing includes some pretty sophisticated cocktails, probably the best you can do to it, just like tequila.
The mastermind behind this all is Diageo, the company owning many well known drinks like Bushmill (my all time favorite whiskey), Guinness, Johnny Walker, Gordon's Gin and many others.
Diago has been building up its relation with the Chinese producers for over a decade, first with a small equity part, a larger one, and then a majority share. Only last summer in got permission to get full ownership of the Chinese company, the Shanghai-listedSichuan Chendu Quanxing Group Company Ltd. The deal got some media coverage, but obvious not a lot of people thought it was a major thing.
Their marketing strategy is sympathetic, although slightly over the hill. An excavation by archaeologists proved the place was producing baijiu already over 600 years, and the marketeers see its historical value only as second behind the famous terracotta army in Xian.
Well, I kept my suspicious towards the product and decided to pass it on to another friend, who has no bad memories connected with the liquor.

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