While baijiu producers in China are looking to boost exports, a pair of brothers in New Zealand are going against the flow. Sam Lu and Ben Lu aim to get a slice of the massive Chinese market with their baijiu, Taizi (太紫), made in Christchurch, reports stuff.co.nz.
The brothers came up with the idea for a New Zealand baijiu in 2007. They aim to get Taizi, which translates to “extreme purple“, into duty free shops across China, and found it went over well during a recent visit to Chengdu:
Mu Xinhai, the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government director general of foreign and overseas Chinese affairs, took a little convincing to try the brothers’ baijiu, preferring to stay patriotic to his region’s drop, but in the spirit of the evening, Xinhai knocked a shot back.
The Lus were nervous and visibly sweating while waiting for Xinhai’s verdict.
He liked it and said it was sweeter than the Sichuan-made brand he usually drank.
Here’s a description of the baijiu, which packs a punch at 58 percent alcohol by volume, from the company website:
TAIZI is a light fragranced baijiu… The sorghum is from Australia and the wheat is from New Zealand. The water used in the distillation process is the pure underground spring water fed from the glacial Southern Alps which fills the aquifers of the Canterbury Plains. The distiller used is one of only three surviving handmade copper distillers commissioned in 1853. This high end baijiu has a smooth entry with a fiery kick that ignites the taste buds then slowly moves through your senses…
And more from a story last year on stuff.co.nz:
It tastes fruity, like a pineapple Fruju [frozen fruit juice], but with an alcohol volume of 58 per cent, it packs a serious punch.
“A famous sorghum spirit in Taiwan is 58 per cent (ABV) and everyone knows that 58 per cent is the premium option,” Ben says.
Taizi comes in a folding purple box that took the brothers more than three years to design. A similar amount of time was spent on branding and sourcing ingredients. The full ingredients list is under wraps, but the main components are sorghum — a grain grown in New Zealand and Australia — wheat, water and berries.
It’s the local water that gives the product an edge, Sam says. “The water is the drawing point.”
You can get more info at the Taizi website here.
World Baijiu Day is held each August 9. See our 2018 event list here. The 2019 list is coming soon. Follow World Baijiu Day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get in touch with Jim Boyce via spirit (at) worldbaijiuday.com.