EAST MEETS WEST: CHINESE WHIKSY LAUNCHED BY DIAGEO AND YANGHE
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Global wine and spirits giant Diageo has launched a new whisky, Zhong Shi Ji, in China in association with China's third biggest baijiu distiller Jiangsu Yanghe.
Described as “new-to-world” because it blends the taste of the east and the west, the whisky is said to have been carefully and specially crafted by master blender and distiller from Scotland and China.
Launched under a new joint venture called Jiangsu Yanghe Diageo Spirit Company, the product is made through a “unique” method including a procedure where the spirit is “softened” through maturation in Chinese ceramic pot.
It is believed the “softened” taste allows the spirit to be consumed with food, research suggests that 80 per cent of alcohol is consumed with meals in China.
C.H. Chu, Managing Director of Diageo Greater China, said: "We believe that Zhong Shi Ji can play an important role in the Chinese dining occasion, launching a new era for whisky drinkers in China.”
"Through our new partnership with Yanghe, we are well placed to leverage our strengths in craftsmanship, brand building and distribution."
The new whisky is an outcome of the joint efforts between two spirit masters, Diageo’s Scotch Whisky master blender Craig Wallace and China Alcoholic Drinks Association's Chinese baijiu master Zhou Xinhu.
Zhu Wei, Vice-president of Yanghe, said, "I firmly believe Zhong Shi Ji will quickly become Chinese consumers’ new favourite, with its ultra-smooth taste and superior quality, created through unique processes and craftsmanship from both China and the West."
China is the world’s largest alcohol market by value, recording USD178 billion of retail sales in 2017 dominated by baijiu, also known as white spirit.
International spirits currently comprise around 3% of China’s spirit retail sales, with Scotch whisky being the second biggest in the category.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)
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