World Baijiu Day features a spirit more common than vodka, whiskey or rum, but little known beyond China. Baijiu is a potent grain spirit, typically with a 53% kick, that represents one third of global hard liquor production.
China makes the vast majority of baijiu, about 10 billion liters per year on average, enough to fill 4,000 Olympic-sized pools. (That much baijiu poured into shot glasses and stacked would reach the moon.) Interest is slowly growing around the world, with this spirit popping up in booze shops and bars, and a smattering of producers trying their hand at making baijiu.
World Baijiu Day aims to make this spirit better known. Since the first WBD in 2015, partners in 60-plus cities have held events—from Melbourne to Minsk, Stockholm to Singapore, Los Angeles to Lima—each August 9. The numbers for August 9 are ‘ba’ and ‘jiu’ in Mandarin, and sound close to baijiu.
Pronounced ‘bye joe”, baijiu translates to “white alcohol” and uses production techniques with roots thousands of years old. (Alcohol has been produced in China for at least 8,000 years.)
Bajjiu is drunk as warm straight shots to the toast of ‘ganbei” or ‘dry glass’ (‘bottoms up’). As this isn’t common in many nations, a World Baijiu Day theme is ‘beyond ganbei’. Partners have been creative in making baijiu-inspired cocktails, infusions, liqueurs, chocolate, pizza and more. Even deep-fried baijiu.
Learn more about WBD and about how baijiu is made here. And about this year’s events here. If you are interested in doing an event, you just need a place, some baijiu and a bit of creativity! Get in touch using the email address spirit (at) worldbaijiuday.com for more info or to share ideas.
Finally, WBD doesn’t aim to convince everyone to become a baijiu lover. The goal is to give people the chance to try one of the planet’s most intriguing spirits. And for those who have tried baijiu and didn’t like it, maybe due to heavy ‘ganbei’ sessions, a chance to give it another taste. It’s also a reason to get creative and have fun!
Cheers, Jim Boyce