An open letter to Kweichow Moutai

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I would like to begin this letter by stating my gratitude for your kind hospitality upon the occasion of my visit to Maotai on the 28th and 29th of March, 2012. The accommodations at the Mao Garden Hotel, accentuated as they were by your town’s sweet sorghum aroma, left nothing to be desired. I shall always remember the hearty welcome dinner in which ganbeis ran freely from assorted company executives and paid professional drinkers – and were returned in kind, I might add. The repeat performance at lunch the next day was icing on the cake. And as for the factory tour, the Maotai museum and the unexpected delight of 50-year-old aged Maotai shots were treats for which I shall remain eternally grateful.

So it is with a heavy heart that I recall some of my more hastily cast aspersions. For example, when I remarked that your factory manager’s comment that “Maotai liquor is healthy” was, and I quote, an “epic whopper,” I was operating under the mistaken impression that any beverage of greater than 50% alcohol by volume would result in unpleasant side effects when consumed over a short period in irresponsibly large quantities. But seventeen shots in and not very much water later – you seem to have removed that from my hotel room for no reason other than to prove your point – I had no headache, stomach ache or discomfort of any variety. The lack of hot water in the shower, along with the breakfast beverage choices of warm milk and warm soy milk – a combination which surely would have trebled any hangover – was an empirical masterstroke capable of silencing the stubbornest skeptic. Even poor Wolfram, who had been forced to ganbei all those rice bowls’ worth of Maotai, was chipper as ever the next morning.

Then there is the matter of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. When describing your company’s involvement in the event, I may have let slip that your alleged first-place medal may have been a fourth-place medal and equated your success to “a participation trophy.” That too, was before I had the chance to see the medal and accompanying award certificate currently on display in your official museum. The certificate was, as you had stated, a Medal of Honor – a first place grade of between 95 and 100 points (out of 100) conferred by wise judges. In this matter, too, I was clearly in the wrong.

In the past, I may have also described sauce-aroma baijiu as particularly challenging to the foreign palate, rashly stating that it tasted like a “rotten banana [defecating] in my mouth.” Well, you can imagine my embarrassment when sometime between the 4th and 39th shot of your sorghum delights, I was left among the converted. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive this oversight and recognize it for what it was: the premature judgment of a baijiu crusader not yet found his way, drinking what was probably fake Maotai.

With this minor unpleasantness behind us, I would like to congratulate you on your recent gold and silver medal wins at the World-Spirits Award 2012 and San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2012, respectively. I have no doubt that you deserved them, and expect that many similar honors await you in the future.

Yours & c.

D.L. Sandhaus

Post scriptum. Though it’s really not necessary and I would frankly be embarrassed at the mere suggestion, should you insist upon sending me one or more bottles of your outrageously unaffordable products, you know how to reach me. Make sure it’s the real stuff, I mean the good stuff … the real good stuff. 

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2 Responses to An open letter to Kweichow Moutai

  1. Now, I guess it’s safe to say that 200 odd shots are quite enough to acquire a taste!

  2. Tijian WONG says:

    Haha, I am Jeff my friend. How are you?
    I think you may get the real staff and be invited to Moutai to have a further destructive experiment in the future.
    Thank you for your compliment to Moutai, we appreciate it. I will forward your letter to my boss. Cheers!

    PS: you know it is hard to cross the GFW and log on your website.Keep in touch at

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