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Baijiu mixed with cocktail lures Chinese and foreigners

Named Capital Spirits, Chinese baijiu, baijiu with cocktail

Baijiu, the Chinese liquor distilled from grains including sorghum, wheat and rice, is the most consumed spirit in the world. Yet, the colorless drink remains virtually unknown outside China. Several foreign entrepreneurs have been trying to popularize the spirit globally.

白酒是中国的一种由高粱、小麦和大米等谷物酿造而成的酒,它世界上消费量最大的烈酒。然而,在中国以外的地区,几乎无人知晓这种无色透明的酒。几位外国企业家一直在全球范围内努力推广这种烈酒。

In the summer of 2014, four expatriates-William Isler, Simon Dang, Matthias Heger and Johannes Braun – opened a small bar in a historic hutong in central Beijing, and claimed it is the world's first bar dedicated to baijiu.

威廉·艾斯勒、西蒙、马蒂亚斯、布劳恩四位侨居中国的外籍人在北京中部的一个历史悠久的小胡同里合开了一家小酒吧,并称这是第一家致力于卖白酒的酒吧。

Named Capital Spirits, it has soon became a hotspot among the expatriates, thus challenging the notion that baijiu is failing to attract foreigners and young Chinese. This it did by simply changing the way the traditional liquor is consumed. Instead of offering the drink by the bottle as is customary, Capital Spirits sells the fiery liquor by the glass and mixed in stylish cocktails. The bar created such a buzz in the capital that executives from the country's main baijiu producing regions in Sichuan and Guizhou provinces travelled to Beijing to see the phenomenon with their own eyes.

这家酒吧名为"首都酒坊",它很快就成为在华外国人所钟爱的休闲场所。"首都酒坊"也挑战了白酒不吸引外国人和中国年轻人的传统概念。"首都酒坊"是通过简单地改变这种传统的酒的消费方式。相比于传统的瓶装白酒,"首都酒坊"提供的是与时髦的鸡尾酒混合的杯装烈酒。这个酒吧的成功引起了轰动,以至于来自四川省和贵州省的中国主要白酒产商纷纷来到北京,他们想亲眼看看这是怎样的一种场面。

"Several baijiu executives came here to ask if we could replicate what we do here on a larger scale, especially outside China," explained Isler, co-founder of Capital Spirits. "The funny thing is that the bar started as a hobby and now we see a real business opportunity here."

"一些白酒厂商高管来问如果我们能否在更大地区范围内进行同样的经营,特别是在中国以外的地区,"艾斯勒(首都酒坊的创始人之一)解释道,"有趣的是,最开始我们只是把酒吧作为一种业余爱好,但现在我们看到了一个真正的商机。"

The quartet decided to open a consulting company to help Chinese baijiu companies with their plans so that the clear liquor could start the conquest of foreign markets. Their main focus is to select baijiu brands with taste profiles that are more acceptable to the Western palate and then rebrand them for the international market. The consultancy also helps producers to establish an accessible market price to lure novice drinkers in the West.

这四个人决定成立一家咨询公司来帮助中国白酒产商实行他们的白酒的推广计划,以便白酒可以开始征服国外市场。他们着重于选择更容易为西方人所接受口味的白酒品牌,然后重新包装,以便进入国际市场。这家咨询公司还帮助白酒产商设定合适价格,以吸引更多对该酒陌生的西方消费者。

"Baijiu can be a very successful international drink. In fact, the current trend in the global spirits market is selling craft premium products with unusual flavors," added Isler. "Baijiu ticks all the boxes but you still need someone that presents the product to Westerners."

"白酒可以成为国际热销的酒饮。事实上,目前全球烈酒市场的趋势是销售味道独特的优质工艺酒品。艾斯勒补充说:"白酒已经具备了以上的所有要求,但仍需要有人在西方市场推广这种酒饮。"

"We are in a very crucial phase of the business. We are exploring to have ownership rights to the new baijiu brands that we are creating together with the producers," noted Heger, co-founder at Capital Spirits.

首都酒坊的创始人之一Heger说:"我们正处于一个非常关键的阶段。我们正在探讨这种我们与生产商共同创造的新的白酒品牌的所有权。"

The huge size of the domestic demand has traditionally discouraged local producers to pursue other markets. However, a nationwide austerity campaign that started in 2012 had impacted sales of the high-end liquor in the domestic market, forcing manufacturers to look at foreign markets. Additionally, the domestic market is expected to shrink in the coming years as young Chinese tend to prefer imported spirits such as whiskey. Although growing slowly, exports of the distilled drink are still insignificant compared with national consumption.

国内市场对白酒的巨大需求在一定程度上阻碍了当地白酒生产商的再去寻求其他市场。然而,开始于2012年的全国性的财政紧缩政策冲击了国内的高端白酒销售市场,迫使生产商开始寻求国外销售市场。此外,随着中国年轻人喜欢喝如威士忌这样的进口酒饮的趋势,白酒在国内的市场在未来几年预计会萎缩。虽然国际白酒销量一直在增长缓慢,但与国民的白酒消费额相比,还是微不足道的。

Making the drink popular in the West remains a crucial strategy for baijiu producers to win the hearts of Chinese millennials back home.

推动白酒在西方流行起来也是白酒生产商赢得中国千禧一代对白酒钟爱的重要策略。

Matt Trusch, CEO of Byejoe, an American producer and distributor of baijiu mix drinks, is among the increasing number of foreigners involved in spreading the baijiu culture overseas.

Byejoe公司的首席执行官马特·特鲁什,该公司是将白酒与其他酒类混合调配出一种新的酒饮"Byejoe"的生产商和经销商。他也是众多在海外参与传播白酒文化的外国人之一。

Trusch, who lived in Asia for 15 years, imports a light red sorghum baijiu base from China and then re-filters it in a distillery in Houston to take away impurities and to mix it with other ingredients. The company's bestseller is Dragon Fire, a baijiu drink containing dragon fruit, lychee and hot chilies.

特鲁什在亚洲生活了15年,从中国进口了红高粱白酒,在休斯敦的酒厂的过滤器里过滤了杂质再将其与其他配料混合制成新的白酒饮品。这家公司的最畅销的酒是"龙火",这是一种含火龙果、荔枝和红辣椒的白酒饮品。

Although Byejoe's initial goal was to convince Westerners to drink baijiu, Trusch realized that many young Chinese consumers were also interested in trying the mix drink. For this reason, Byejoe started introducing its creations into Chinatowns across America. Nowadays, 50 percent of its customers are Chinese living overseas.

虽然Byejoe最初的目标是让西方人接受白酒,但特鲁什意识到,许多年轻的中国消费者也有兴趣尝试这些白酒混合饮品。因此,Byejoe公司开始在美国唐人街引入他们创作的白酒饮品。目前,有50%的客户都是海外华人。

Their drinks are now distributed to restaurants, bars and liquor stores in 15 states in the US, including a supply agreement with Disney World in Florida. The company is also reaching 50 states in the country, thanks to online sales.

他们的酒饮现在已遍布至美国的15个州的餐馆、酒吧和酒饮专卖店,其中包括一个与佛罗里达州迪士尼世界的供应协议。该公司的业务也已经扩展到美国的50个州,这得益于线上销售。

Los Angeles-based CNS Imports, one of the oldest and largest baijiu suppliers in the US, has been importing top baijiu brands from China for over 35 years. The importer prides itself in having more than 200 products in its portfolio, from the ultra premium Moutai brand to HKB, a special blended mix drink designed for Western palates.

洛杉矶的CNS进口基地是美国历史最悠久、规模最大的白酒供应商,已经从中国进口顶级品牌白酒超过35年。进口商自诩在其投资组合中有超过200的产品,从顶级高档茅台品牌到HKB,专门根据西方人的口味调制的特殊酒饮。

Steaven Chen, COO at CNS Imports, explains that when his parents started the company in the 1980s, they mainly focused on selling the liquor within Chinatowns. Chen and his sister took up the baton to focus on educating the West on the high-proof spirit, noting that US consumers are increasingly keen on the drink. CNS anticipates positive sales growth of the liquor among both the Chinese community overseas and the mass market, with the general market carrying a much higher long-term potential.

CNS进口中心的首席运营主管Steaven Chen解释说,当他的父母在上世纪八十年代开始经营这家公司时,他们主要是在唐人街销售白酒。陈和他的妹妹现在接过了接力棒,把重点放在让西方人接受这种高酒精度的酒饮,并指出,美国消费者现在对白酒越来越热衷。CNS预计白酒在中国海外社区和大众市场中销售将继续增长,是一个具有长期潜力的市场。

2016-06-22

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