The birthplace of Moutai is showing that it can raise a glass to more than just the iconic and expensive liquor as it publicizes its less well-known tipples. The move comes as sales of high-end alcohol fall in the wake of the government’s campaign against extravagance.

Representatives of Renhuai, in Guizhou province, hit the road along the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas on June 1 to promote their other brands of alcohol.

The brands, 52 to be exact, ranging in price from 300 to 500 yuan ($48 to $81) a bottle, were on offer at a fair in Shanghai. Renhuai’s signature Moutai costs more than 1,000 yuan a bottle.

“We’re keen to promote our high-quality liquor to other cities and regions,” said Chen Lianzhong, a spokesman for the Renhuai city government.

“We want to let people know there are more brands in Renhuai with prices suitable for all pockets.”

Besides, it’s a good opportunity to attract investors and business partners to the advantages Renhuai has to offer, he added.

After Shanghai, the roadshow traveled to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, both in Guangdong province.

Being the “liquor capital” of China, Renhuai is home to 1,149 retailers and manufacturers of white spirits, with 75 well-known brands, including Moutai.

Last year, the output of the white spirit was 253,000 kiloliters, 31 percent higher than 2011. The city plans to increase that to 600,000 kiloliters, with a total industrial output value of 100 billion yuan by 2016.

Most of these products are priced 100 to 300 yuan a bottle.

According to the Renhuai government, the industrial output value of liquor manufacturers for the first quarter of this year was more than 8.6 billion yuan, up just 1 percent compared with the same period last year.

“It was probably caused by the obvious drop in the prices,” Chen said.

Zhou Jieming, chairman of the Guizhou Central Brewery Group in Maotai village, told Oriental Morning Post that his company’s sales revenue doubled annually from 2009 to 2012.

“But we have seen a drop in the first quarter of 2013 so we adjusted the price from 800 yuan to under 500 yuan.”

The retail price of Moutai dropped from its peak of 1,600 yuan a bottle in the second half of 2012 to about 1,000 yuan today.

Prices of high-end liquors, such as Moutai and Wuliangye, decreased partly due to a government frugality campaign started toward the end of last year, which has resulted in a fall in extravagant dining.

Official consumption used to account for 8 percent of Moutai sales, Yuan Renguo, chairman of Kweichow Moutai, said at a news conference on June 3, Beijing News reported.

From China Daily


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