Another year, another anniversary post.
Two years ago in Chengdu I started this blog to see if I could figure out a way to enjoy China’s reviled (among foreigners) national spirit. As it turned out, gaining an appreciation for baijiu wasn’t all that difficult once I figured out what I was dealing with and I fast became a convert. In the time since, I’ve directed my energies almost exclusively to bridging the English-language knowledge gap on traditional Chinese spirits in the hopes of winning over more converts to team baijiu.
So what’s in store for year three? Quite a bit.
A couple of months ago, I moved back to America after spending the better part of the last decade in China. Normally such a transition would spell disaster for a China-centric blog, but this particular historic moment is a fascinating time to watch baijiu from the other side of the Pacific.
After Xi Jinping announced that the government baijiu till was drying up, the big state-run monster companies have been in a tailspin and their flameout is starting to burn the mid-level players as well. This has meant that whereas in the past baijiu distilleries had no interest in overseas markets, they are now eyeing foreign shores with the hope of recovering some of their recent losses. Add to that the fact that several independent players have recently launched, or plan to launch this year, new “international” baijius in the United States. Will it work? Who can say? But it will be great fun to witness. What’s more, I’m hoping that a little distance from the Mainland will create a bit more creative space in which to write about baijiu, corruption and the recent shifts in policy.
On top of that, I’ve got an exciting baijiu-related professional announcement to make in the next couple of months, twelve more baijius of the month, and several more detailed examinations of the baijiu production process. As always, I’ll be expanding upon my ongoing coverage of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and any other historical oddities that strike my fancy. So get ready for another fun year.
2013’s Greatest Hits