Blog: Olly WehringDiageo - Who will buy my baijiu?

Olly Wehring | 31 May 2012

Amongst the sideline talk at this year's Capital Markets Day from Pernod Ricard yesterday, check this, from a China Daily reporter.

Talk over dinner last night turned to baijiu, the domestically-produced white spirit and national drink of China. The category accounts for a staggering 99% of spirits sales in the country, with imported spirits – annual volumes of a still-healthy 5m cases – making up the final per cent.

What was Diageo's thinking in getting involved in baijiu, the reporter asked me. Could the company be keen to grow the Shuijingfang brand in China, or is Diageo looking to introduce baijiu to export markets?

I proffered the possibility that Diageo is hoping to use Shuijingfang as its way in to the Chinese consumer, before looking to turn him on to the likes of Johnnie Walker.

“No,” the reporter fires back. “That will never work.” The baijiu consumer is such, due to a mixture of compulsion and national loyalty, I'm told. A Chinese civil servant, for example, - of which there are a few - will buy baijiu and baijiu alone when it comes to spirits.

I'm hoping Diageo knew this before it made its play for Shuijingfang.

Unless, of course, baijiu's going to get its own gondola end in Wal-Mart and Tesco some time soon?


BLOG

Putin's Coca-Cola dig misses the mark

The Coca-Cola Co has had its fair share of critics this year, from health campaigners to investor David Winters, who this week called for CEO Muhtar Kent to be replaced....

BLOG

Season of goodwill? Not if you're the UK health lobby

The UK health lobby is always very vocal on alcohol at this time of year, predictably so, and this year is no different. ...

BLOG

Carlsberg builds new life from Copenhagen brewery

“Ah, yes, you've hit upon a very sensitive area,” says Thomas, my guide at the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen last Friday....

BLOG

Scotch whisky firms learn the value of leftovers

Experimentation has long been a watchword in the Scotch whisky industry. It is what has given consumers the huge range of ageing options, from refill hogsheads to virgin oak to Sherry butts....

just-drinks homepage



Forgot your password?