The Panamanian Connection, Pt. 2: Trouble in Luzhou

Longtime readers of 300 Shots will be familiar with my interest in the oft-repeated legend of baijiu’s triumphant showing at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. According to the story, several Chinese alcohol companies presented at the event – a World’s Fair – and walked away with official commendations. The subject is referenced ad nauseam by baijiu manufacturers (and Changyu winery) and described at great length in this post. Despite my earlier suggestion that baijiu producers stop bragging about dubious awards won a century ago, they just aren’t listening.[1]

Last time around, I mentioned Luzhou Laojiao’s nefarious attempt to pass off a bronze medal as a “Best in Show” award. The company was formed in 1952, as their bottles proudly proclaim, placing any claim to a 1915 medal on shaky ground, but a new special edition bottle is making matters worse.

I present Exhibit A, Luzhou Laojiao’s new Tequ 特曲 bottle:

LZLJ Tequ

You will note that the bottom of the box prominently features their official certificate of award from the Panama-Pacific Exposition, albeit too small to read clearly. Luckily, I snapped a full-sized picture of the document[2] when I was in Luzhou last summer. So I now present, for your consideration, Exhibit B:

LZLJ Panama Award

Now the first thing that jumps out at you is that “Gold Medal.” It’s off center, the wrong color and printed in a font that looks more 1960s Sci-Fi than 1915 World’s Fair. But then look further down and note that the award was bestowed upon: ORCHARD CITY CANNING COMPANY of Campbell, California for “Assorted Canned Fruits.” When I reached out to the OC Canning Co. for comment,[3] I found this lovely Campbell City historical page, which states, in no uncertain terms, that the award was a BRONZE medal.

Wow. Just wow. Luzhou Laojiao took an award it didn’t win, Photoshopped it to look more impressive than it actually was, but forgot to Photoshop out the original company’s name before sticking it on a baijiu package sold all over the country. Good work.

If you must lie, at least do a better of job of it. There’s no Bronze Gold Medal for half-assing it.


[1] Read: Don’t pay attention to my blog.

[2] I’ve checked it against the new baijiu box; it’s the same certificate.

[3] Read: Googled.

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One Response to The Panamanian Connection, Pt. 2: Trouble in Luzhou

  1. 4feet2mouths says:

    Nothing is “for real” in China. Desire to be (or claim) #1 status seems to be everything. This baijiu is probably way smoother than the cleaning fluid I drink, but I am not surprised by your research. Thanks for sharing.

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