This article is for the liquor lover, I would go through the most famous and common Chinese liquor brand.
To be full disclosure, I am not a fan of liquor, sometimes hold a negative view about it, even I got no much chance to have wine or beer because I drive everyday.
From my understanding, the comparable liquor product in western world should be whiskey or vodka, although alcohol ratio in all these liquor is pretty high, like 35%, even 65%, the taste is complete different, not much people can be get used to all of them. Once, I drunk a little glass of whiskey, probably Johnny walker, I feel sick and dizzy very soon. So if you are a visitor to China, just take a sip of the Chinese liquor to see if you can get on with it.
Here is the most famous Chinese liquor brand
MáoTái (茅台), The name of the liquor came from the original production place, which is kind of the MaoTai county. Usually we think the liquor business is original from Qing Dynasty, and nationalized after 1949 (PRC Founded)
WǔLiángYè (五粮液), literally it means Five Grain Water, is also coming from Qing Dynasty, but have complete different taste with MaoTai liquor, the liquor lover usually only get used to or be fond of one of them.
These are the first tie liquor brand in China, and you won’t expect the price below 1000 RMB($150) for one bottle, some sub-brand of MaoTai or Wuliangye would lower their marketing position and price for volume selling. And one more important thing for luxury liquor, counterfeit liquor is everywhere, you could only buy the liquor from the trusted vendor and formal supermarket. BTW, with the anti corruption movement during these year, lots of luxury liquor vendor are broke, which made the financial performance go downhill.
Two tie brand
LangJiu and JianNanChun are more affordable than the first tie brand, but they are still the high end product in the marketing position, usually their cost will be lower 30% compared with the first tie product. and the taste of LangJiu is more close to MaoTai, and JianNanChun is more close to WuLiangYe, so it is the perfect match in marketing. The counterfeit problem is not worse for these two products and they can basically be bought in the supermarket without problem.
Ordinary people’s brand.
For the daily consumer liquor brand, usually every province got one or more, I would give your a example, as I lived in Beijing, the famous local liquor brand is：
ErGuoTou(二锅头) ，which is very very hard for none native people to speak, but it got a nick name, which is XiaoEr, literally, ‘Xiao’ means ‘little’ , Er means ’Two’ , it would only cost you less than 50 RMB($7) depending on the size of the bottle. People usually drink this at party. If you try to link the taste with the high end product, I think this would fall into WuLiangYe category.
Pronunciation for ErGuōTóu:
Figure: This picture is taken from a ordinary supermarket when I wrote the article for beverage
Finally, every nation or ethnic type have their unique liquor culture, Chinese people usually drink up all the liquor in their glass when proposing a toast, and so does the others, that’s hard for me, and a glass of liquor will kill my stomach and then my brain, but sometimes if you want to do business in China, drinking some liquor is inevitable, which is weird for me, but it’s true. It is said that in China, if you want to gain trust by your partner, just be drunk together, go prostitution together, or go to war together, sometimes, go corruption together.
I personally like Japan Sake which taste is more like Chinese liquor, but light taste and not much stronger.
Update 2018.1.10: MáoTái (茅台) announced to increase their price by 18% in general. The official reason is to fulfill the requirement of consumers, well, monopoly is greedy and shameless.