In a move timed to coincide with the start of the London Olympics, baijiu brand Shui Jing Fang will go on sale in the UK next week. Chinese visitors to London will likely be the first buyers of the spirit, which will sell for almost £100 a bottle. However, the brand’s new owner Diageo (also of the UK) evidently hopes the British will give it a try too, as an alternative to liquor like single malt whisky. Both drinks are similarly high in alcohol content and are drunk neat.
The super premium baijiu segment is growing fast in China (see WiC134) which explains why Diageo was so keen to buy control of Shui Jing Fang, one of the country’s best known baijiu makers. As part of the deal, however, the drinks giant committed to turning Shui Jing Fang into an international brand.
Baijiu is an acquired taste, so WiC doesn’t see it appearing in British pubs overnight. But Andrew Cowan, country director for Diageo in the UK, is bullish, saying he believes the British market offers “a real opportunity”.
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