Bai Jiu-ve! British farmer Pete Thompson to launch sorghum-based baijiu

British farmer Pete Thompson will soon launch a baijiu made with local sorghum, the most common grain used by the spirit’s producers in China.

Harper’s reports that Thompson teamed with English Spirits Distillery on the project and will launch the baijiu on January 25 to coincide with this year’s Chinese New Year festivities. The fermentation and distillation for the baijiu are done in Essex.

The inspiration for making the baijiu came in 2018 when the Thompson family marked 70 years of growing vegetables for the Chinese customers in the UK, states the official website.

“As part of this celebration, and to honour Chinese tradition and British science and distilling expertise, we created Thompson’s Baijiu.”

“Baijiu is China’s most popular spirit but is unfamiliar to British palates,” explains the site. “It’s smooth with a unique malty and umami flavour and distinct aroma. At 50% ABV it is sippable in the traditional Chinese fashion and has potential as a cocktail ingredient.”

Thompson’s baijiu will sell for 45 pounds (400 rmb) per bottle. It is one of numerous spirits made by the family. For example, a range of spirits made using waste food includes a Calvados-inspired apple brandy that utilizes leftover apples.

Thompson’s is also one of only a few spirits produced and labeled as baijiu beyond China, including Vinn in the United States, Taizi in New Zealand, Dragon Mist in Canada, East Coast in Australia and Eimverk in Iceland.

(Thanks to Wise Bartender for the heads up.)

Founded in 2015, World Baijiu Day is held each August 9, with events in over 60 cities so far. Follow WBD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And get in touch via spirit (at)

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