By Jim Boyce | It’s a testament to China’s colossal booze market that the top four global spirit brands hail from this country despite having little revenue or recognition beyond it.
According to Brand Finance, previous leader Moutai heads the 2019 list, at USD30.5 billion, up 43% in value over last year. Moutai is followed by fellow baijiu producers Wuliangye (16 billion), Yanghe (9.1 billion) and Luzhou Laojiao (5.4 billion).
The top non-China brand is Johnnie Walker at 4.6 billion, just 15 percent of Moutai. Put another way, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniel’s, Hennessy, Bacardi and Smirnoff are ranked fifth through ninth but have less total value than Moutai.
Gujing Gong Jiu came in tenth, with 2.7 billion, with no baijiu producers in the next 30 spots. That surprised me. I expected makes such as Fenjiu to make the list.
China produces over 10 billion liters of baijiu per year but nearly all of it is consumed locally. While producers did struggle after China President Xi Jinping launched an austerity program more than six year ago to crack down on official spending on luxury goods such as top-end baijiu, the industry has since rebounded.
Anyway, some skeptics will question the brand value numbers, especially given how hard it is to source accurate data on the China market. See the pdf here for more on Brand Finance’s methodology.