Understanding Baijiu Drinking Culture In China

Understanding Baijiu Drinking Culture In China
Understanding Baijiu Drinking Culture In China

For those of you who partied back at home, you’re going to be in for a bit of a shock because that is not the way it works in China.

You might think that playing beer pong and doing whiskey and vodka shots are the ultimate methods of getting wasted. No way!

Further reading: Chinese Drinking Games Top 7 & How To Play

Baijiu looks exactly like vodka and is usually distilled from sorghum, although sometimes grains may be used. Baijiu is produced differently all over China. For example, in southern China, it’s typically made from glutinous rice, but if it’s from northern China it’s made with sorghum, wheat, barley, and millet.

China’s drinking culture isn’t to get drunk ASAP. Usually it involves drinking small amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, so if you’re feeling tipsy, wait for about fifteen minutes and take another drink. Sooner or later you’ll be feeling tipsy again. You’ll be drinking beer or wine if you are lucky; baijiu if you are not (pray that you live to see the next day).

Once you start drinking, it’s best not to back out otherwise you will diu mianzi, which means “lose face” or “lose reputation.” Having the ability to drink a lot in China means you are good at doing business (which is kind of ironic because you will most likely have no idea what kind of contract you’re signing while you’re drunk). So if you give up while out at a business banquet, then not only are you putting a bad reputation on yourself, but also on your boss and your company. So once you decide to partake in this drinking culture, you’d better be prepared for one hell of a night.

Women are luckier than men in a Chinese business banquet. Women who are invited into a banquet won’t be expected to drink, but for those who choose to ganbei, there is no turning back. Women get double points for each drink they take, but some men may offer to drink a full glass while women drink a quarter or half glass. Quite frequently, women will choose to keep the same pace with the crowd.

Continued Below…


Kweichow Moutai - VS - V.I.P Jiu 8

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8

Kweichow Moutai - VS - V.I.P Jiu 8
Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8

A bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 together with a bottle of Moutai Flying Fairy was sent to a UK laboratory for analysis. The laboratory was 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 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 also concluded that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy). Further reading: VIP Jiu 8 Vs Moutai


This part may be unbelievable, but you can actually bring someone along and delegate him or her as your designated drinker. It is usually men who are old or have health problems that elect representatives for their company; however, your fellow co-workers or diners might tease you for being a coward, but hey, it’s better to have a representative than having no-one at all, since it saves the company’s face and reputation. Some representatives may think it is an honor, but sometimes the elected drinker is someone you do not want to drink with because that person can out-drink you. The elected drinker will probably deny that he or she can drink a lot, but that’s a lie. Chinese people can be very modest.

Always prepare yourself when you decide to attend a business banquet because it is going to be a long ride. The host will often toast the crowd and the guest of honor, and the second host will toast the second guest of honor and so forth. There are usually eight to ten rounds of ganbei at each business banquet, but it is also common for challenges to arise among your fellow coworkers and diners. If you choose to challenge someone at the table, you’d better finish that last glass. Nevertheless, you can always switch between the types of alcohol you are drinking. If everyone is drunk and you make them laugh, no-one would care how much you drink.

It’s probably a bad idea to bring your girlfriend or wife unless the host tells you to do so. The main reason is that deals and contracts may not be closed and signed over the course of the banquet if you bring your spouse. Another reason is because the business banquet doesn’t end when everyone is finished eating; the banquet usually ends after the group goes to karaoke or a massage parlor. If the group decides to play dice or flirt with young girls at karaoke and massage parlors, then that is a good reason to leave your partner at home. Also, you will save yourself the trouble of embarrassing yourself in front of your spouse.

It’s usually during Chinese New Year or a few weeks before that businessmen and women put their drinking abilities to the test. Even though some of these people are on the verge of collapsing, they will most likely continue to drink. This is because their bodies may collapse, but their dignities and honors won’t.

This is how Chinese people drink.

Further Reading

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