Kweichow Moutai – Can You Spot The Cultural Blunder? Is Moutai Now In Name Only?

15 Year Old Moutai Baijiu
15 Year Old Moutai Baijiu – £1200 per bottle at Harrods.

Is Kweichow Moutai the worlds biggest baijiu brand living on past glories? Has Kweichow Moutai SOULED OUT? Is Kweichow Moutai now in name only?

Let’s look at a few of Moutai’s past and present glories.

I recently wrote an article titled (Why is Kweichow Moutai so expensive?) within that article is the following passage.

Moutai is marketed as the national spirit of China. This really became the case in 1949, when Chairman Mao rose to prominence. Mao and his comrades toasted the founding of the People’s Republic of China with Moutai. Perhaps that was because it was the tipple of choice of Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier and Mao’s second-in-command.

Hu Jingshi – Kweichow Moutai historian.

Hu Jingshi, 63, has been an employee of Kweichow Moutai Company since 1975, when he started as a worker fermenting sorghum and rose to become a leader of his group. He now serves as the company historian, having authored two books on the history of Moutai Wine. “During the Long March, the Red Army stayed in Maotai Town for three days. “The liquor merchants ran away when they saw the soldiers because they were scared of them, but the Red Army left money for the liquor they had used to treat their wounds, so they left a good impression,” says Hu.

Kweichow Moutai in their own words.

As a national top product, Moutai plays a special role in various political, economic, military, diplomatic and cultural events of contemporary China, witnesses the shinning historic moments, and demonstrates the charm of Chinese liquor culture, attracting much attention from the world.

Moutai witnesses various significant historic events of modern China and carries the emotional memories of several Chinese generations; concerned and favoured by the masses, Moutai is reputed as China’s “national liquor”.

Over the past years, Moutai has been listed in many top world-renowned rankings by various international authoritative institutions and has won many honours from various top spirits contests of the world, enjoying a worldwide reputation.

Kweichow Moutai is mainland China’s biggest public company.

Kweichow Moutai is now the biggest public company in mainland China by market cap after its shares gained 23% so far this year. It’s currently valued at more than 1.8 trillion yuan ($259 billion), surpassing one of the country’s top banks.

There is no denying Moutai has incredibly great brand awareness.

I praise Kweichow Moutai on a regular basis within articles I publish, such as:

“Moutai is ingrained in Chinese culture, there is nothing more Chinese than Moutai other than the Chinese people themselves. In China Moutai is an institution in its own right, it is a premium luxury brand that oozes opulence. It is considered by many in China as an investment commodity as well as a huge gainer of face. Moutai is the biggest and wealthiest baijiu brand in the world”.

BUT! The Jue is UPSIDE DOWN ;-(

Kweichow Moutai undoubtedly enjoys a strong market presence and basks in the awareness from its past glories, they must never take this for granted and assume it will continue without effort being put in to maintain that presence. Things are changing fast with an onslaught by competitive hungry baijiu brands wanting to capture a slice of the lucrative baijiu market

Above I said, “There is nothing more Chinese than Moutai other than the Chinese people themselves”. In this case this statement seems awkwardly invalid, as if you understand Chinese culture you will realize the blunder highlighted below is comparable with a Scotsman wearing his sporron around his neck. Surely simple common sense dictates the item does not look right with its legs in the air and the recess of the bowl that holds the liquid facing upside down.

It’s the small details that make all the difference! At £1,200 a bottle there is no excuse for this failure to understand one’s own culture, especially for a brand that continually and proudly promotes its history and its country’s culture around the globe.

Excuses aside, lets give Kweichow Moutai the benefit of the doubt and call it a simple oversight by their marketing department or some other department within the layers of a big companies bureaucracy and hierarchy.

Or, maybe I am wrong and Harrods took the photograph, either way someone from Moutai should have spotted such a gaff, especially when considering that the photograph has been published for over a year and the fact its being offered for sale in such an exclusive outlet as Harrods.

I did email Moutai to inform them of the error but no reply as of yet. Hopefully, it will be rectified soon.

Incorrect

Screenshot from Harrods website for 15-year-old Kweichow Moutai.
Screenshot from Harrods website for 15-year-old Kweichow Moutai.

History of the ancient Chinese bronze Jue

The prominent spout, whorl capped posts, flared tail and long tripod legs make the jue one of the more striking vessels of the Shang dynasty ritual bronze assembly. Used by Shang Kings in wine ceremonies linking them with the ancestral spirits.

As one of the oldest vessel forms, jue were used and continually adapted over several centuries, enjoying a relatively long period of popularity. The earliest primitive bronze jue date from the pre-Shang Erlitou period, with thin short legs, a dainty narrow spout and bulbous ‘waist’ to the body, with these design features continuing into early Shang. Over time, certain features became more pronounced, with longer legs and taller rim posts, perhaps to better fulfil its role during libation rituals.

The eminent Li Ji, one of the ‘fore-fathers’ of Chinese archaeology, based his research on excavated jue from the Shang ruins at Yinxu, concluding the jue was designed for pouring wine, perhaps from a large storage jar in to a smaller vessel for drinking, and was used in tandem with flared vessels, gu.

Correct

V.I.P Jiu 8 - The Imperial Baijiu

I still stand by what I always say: There is no denying Moutai is an incredibly great baijiu.

Moutai is ingrained in Chinese culture, there is nothing more Chinese than Moutai other than the Chinese people themselves. In China Moutai is an institution in its own right, it is a premium luxury brand that oozes opulence. It is considered by many in China as an investment commodity as well as a huge gainer of face. Moutai is the biggest and wealthiest baijiu brand in the world.

BUT!

Just because your the biggest does not mean your the best…

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8

Moutai Scientific Analysis – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Scientific Analysis

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8
Sample A and sample B

A bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 together with a bottle of Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy was sent to a UK laboratory for analysis.

The laboratory is a registered member of UKAS – The United Kingdom Accreditation Service that is recognised by the UK government when comparing products to internationally agreed standards.

The two bottles were labelled sample A and sample B.

  • Sample A – V.I.P Jiu 8.
  • Sample B – Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy.

The laboratory concluded that the two bottles were very different, with sample A (VIP Jiu 8) being considerably more complex than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The laboratory concluded that the two bottles were very different, with sample A (VIP Jiu 8) being considerably more complex than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The chart below clearly shows that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The chart below clearly shows that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

Further Reading – (Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8) or buy V.I.P Jiu 8 – The Imperial Baijiu!

Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

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Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.