The problem with talking about baijiu is that every time someone asks you to define it, you invariably end up having to get more detailed than you would like. This is as true when speaking to casual drinkers as it is to bartenders and whiskey distillers. Too many times to count, I have watched as my unwitting enabler’s eyes glaze over at descriptions of yeast cultures and solid-state fermentation. Baijiu is just too different: There are almost no readily available points of reference. Everything about the production process remains oddly abstract and conceptual.
To bring the conversation back down to earth visual aids are useful (I always bring a slideshow when I speak to an audience about baijiu). Visiting a distillery to see how baijiu is made firsthand is even better, but for most people that’s not a realistic option. So rejoice, baijiu enthusiasts, one of your fellow readers, Ms. Amy Coghlan of China International Duty Free, has taken it upon herself to take you on a guided tour through one of China’s premier distilleries: Yanghe 洋河 in Suqian, Jiangsu Province. (She was kind enough to upload this video production video to YouTube just for 300 Shots readers, so be sure to thank her in the comments below!)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, as the cliche goes, then a Youtube video is worth 24 thousand low-resolution words per second. Enjoy.