Why did Moutai Become China’s National Liquor?
There are quite a number of factors that have contributed to the well-established Brand of Moutai - China’s National Liquor. Moutai won a special prize as early as 1915 at the Panama World Fair. It is known to all that China was a poor country, backward not only in the production of commodities but also in packaging. One can hardly imagine such a liquor from one the remotest areas in China could possibly win an international prize. The excellent quality of the liquor seems to be the only answer. Later, Moutai lived up to the expectations of all, winning several international prizes as well as all the national ones.
Secondly, the Red Army on the long March benefited a great deal from the liquor. When the Red Army broke their journey at the town of Moutai, the soldiers were physically exhausted, and many of them suffering from wounds, colds or diarrhea. Surprisingly enough, all the soldiers found themselves fully recovered and back in high spirit simply by drinking Moutai and applying it to their wounds. Indeed, Moutai was a great encouragement and helper to the Red Army during difficult times. 30 years later, when Premier Zhou Enlai made a welcoming speech at the banquet held for U.S. President Nixon, he said with emotion: “On the Long March, Moutai was the panacea of our Red Army!”
Thirdly, looking back at the history of Chinese diplomacy, Moutai has played an unparalleled role. Thanks to the outstanding quality of Moutai, it was made, in the early days of New China, the super liquor for the state banquet and special gift presented to foreign guests. In 1954, Premier Zhou Enlai led a government delegation to Geneva for a conference. While entertaining delegation members and journalists with Moutai from different countries, Premier Zhou proposed one toast after another to people at every table, making all the guests present amazed at Zhou’s drinking capacity. Meanwhile, there were huge paeans of praise for the mellow taste of Moutai. The 1970s witnessed the improvement of China’s relations with the United States and Japan. Premier Zhou entertained guests from the two countries with Moutai and popular saying at the moment goes: Moutai is the icebreaker, melting the solid ice of history. Today, vivid descriptions of Moutai can be found in memoirs by leader of the two countries, with its top quality and mellow taste, Moutai, China’s national liquor, left traces at the critical moments of Chinese history.
In what ways is Moutai baijiu unique?
The uniqueness of Moutai baijiu came from the application of the exquisite production techniques that are vastly different from the other liquors. The techniques applied in the process of production include yeasting, brewing, mature fasting and blending; each and every technique is specially applied in its own way. Being a liquor subjected to seasonal production, its yeast preparation falls on the Dragon Boat Festival (5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month), and commence its commissioning at the time of the Double Ninth Festival (9th day of the 9th Chinese lunar month). Other distilled spirits are commissioned all the year round (throughout the sour seasons of the year). It takes a whole year for Moutai baijiu to complete its process of production in which the same batch of raw material has to undergo nine times of boiling, eight times of curing and yeast adding, pilling for fermentation, infusing, and steeping and then seven times of liquor extracting. Other liquors, however, have to undergo just once or four to five times at most. Moutai baijiu has three different flavours - sauce bouquet, cellar aroma and mellow sweet whereas the majority of the other distilled spirits have just one flavor. Of all the distilled spirits, Moutai is unique in the sense that it is a mixture of blended liquors of different types of fragrance, age and alcoholic degrees with an addition of other substances – for example man-made fragrant materials or water. The whole process of Moutai baijiu production, from commissioning to the finished liquor, involves at least a period of five years: one year for production, three years for storage and another one year for storage after liquors of different ages being blended. It takes only about one year or more or a few months or even dozens of days for other liquors to be completed.
The unique quality of Moutai baijiu is a perfect combination of it unique brewing techniques and the local natural environment. There is evidence based on experiments of more than ten years showing that Moutai cannot be produced anywhere else out of Moutai town, even if it is produced with the Moutai techniques. Many years of research conducted by Mr Ji Ke Liang, ex-chairman of Moutai Group, a senior engineer and expert on distilled spirits shows that the unique quality of Moutai baijiu is closely related with the special local natural environment, climate and microbe species. Indeed, it is the traditional scientific brewing techniques that the local people have come up with, through the thousands of years, coupled with the special local natural environment that have made Moutai baijiu what it is today. And these techniques and climatic conditions are cannot be transferred and copied.
Why is Moutai baijiu is regarded as being good for our health?
Many customers are well aware of the good features of Moutai baijiu; its long lasting aftertaste, non-lightheaded, throat smoothing and the lingering fragrance left in the emptied cup. Some people love Moutai baijiu for its health care implications and disease curing measures. While other distilled spirits are likely to make one suffer from a headache or feel dispirited, Moutai baijiu is able to keep one happy and lighthearted. Drinking too much is harmful to one’s liver, which is of course, common sense. However from the middle of 1990s, seven medical research institutions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guiyang made a study on the effect of Moutai baijiu in one’s liver. The results show that surprising Moutai baijiu contains SOD. And drinking certain amount of Moutai baijiu for a certain long period of time can induce the liver to produce 22 times more metallothioneins.
Till now metallothioneins play a very important role in fighting free radicals in the human body, combat consenescence and tumors. It prevents the formation of hepatic fibrosis and suppresses liver’s sternzellen. The presence of SOD and metallothioneins found in Moutai baijiu help to strengthen the body’s resistance and combat hepatic fibrosis.
All the candidates chosen for medical examination had a history of drinking high-degree Moutai baijiu for more than ten years and one of the candidates even had a drinking history of 37 years. For the candidates, drinking Moutai baijiu was a must due to the conditions under which they had to work, and the average amount of Moutai baijiu they had to consume each day was between 80 – 120 g. Much to the surprise of the medical experts, the results of the examination was found to be unexpectedly encouraging for all the candidates except for one who, by the way, had had a history of hepatitis and had no pathological liver problems at all. Those with gastric problems may feel a burning sensation inside by drinking other distilled spirits whereas Moutai baijiu makes them feel comfortable. Spreading far and wide are stories of drinkers of Moutai baijiu benefiting from its unique properties. After many years of research, many people begin to realize that the uniqueness of Moutai baijiu is, to a great extent, related to the unparalleled favorable natural conditions and its special brewing techniques, Moutai baijiu has the following features: First, it has more phenol compound than any other spirits which is the key to health care. Secondly, it has higher acidity, which can better protect one’s liver and stomach. This is in fact in line with the spirit of Taoism and Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese medical theory. Thirdly, it has more varieties of fragrance. A preliminary analysis of Moutai baijiu by means of modern science indicates that it contains more than 200 trace elements. However, to what extent it is significant to one’s health, and in what ways its mechanism works is still unknown, and further research and study is required and still in progress.
Why is Moutai baijiu considered as green food?
A first taste of Moutai baijiu may not bring you a rich smell of fragrance as other spirits may do. This is understandable because the mellow smell of Moutai baijiu comes naturally out of its brewing process, as Moutai baijiu contains no man-made fragrant materials. In addition, all the raw materials used in the production are natural and superior in quality. Technically speaking, the improvement of the brewing process is entirely a matter of accumulation of experiences. Unlike the breweries in other cities, the Moutai distillery is situated in the mountainous areas of northern Guizou, completely free from pollution of any kind. At the National Planning Conference held in 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai pointed out: “all the upper reaches 100 km away from Moutai distillery shall not allow any industrial or mineral constructions that are likely to bring about pollution to the brewing water, and the establishment of chemical plants should be strictly prohibited.” Premier Zhou’s instructions have been well fulfilled and the brewing water is as pure as ever.
Presently, these is only one authorized Moutai origin in China for the production for Moutai Liquor that is green in nature and free of chemical elements.