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Pernod Ricard partnership to bring Baijiu to the international market

Published:  19 November, 2019

Baijiu, China’s most popular and deeply historic spirit, could be making its way to the UK thanks to a new partnership with French giant Pernod Ricard.

The strategic partnership was signed on November 14 in Sichuan, where Pernod and China’s largest Baijiu producer, Wuliangye International, agreed to share infrastructure and develop their regional sales channels.

This will focus on the wider Southeast Asia market at first, but they are already in talks to expand to other markets globally at a later stage.

“We are excited to form a new strategic partnership with a respected Baiju leader, Wuliangye, and embark a new adventure together,” Pernod Ricard Asia chairman and CEO Philippe Guettat said.

“Imported spirits and Baiju have both enjoyed a long and glorious history in their respective markets… Joining our forces and expertise today marks a historic milestone in the industry.”

Li Shuguang, chairman of Wuliangye Group, added: "The Asia market beyond China will be a very important stepping stone for Wuliangye as it treads into the international market.”

Because of Baijiu’s popularity in China and the country’s population of 1.4 billion, the spirit often tops the lists of the most widely produced and consumed spirits in the world.

A recent panel discussion at Bar Convent, showed just how big Baijiu is in the Far East.

In China, which is by far the largest online market for alcohol worldwide, spirits is the leading category – and an enormous 91% of all this spirits volume is Baijiu.

The rest of the world’s ecommerce sales are dominated by wine.

The creep of Baijiu from China to other markets like the UK was also recently reported on by Harpers when a new international spirits research body launched in London.

Part of the China-backed initiative is to develop the profile of Baijiu, with newly formed UK-company Kylin Spirits Group working closely with the body on the global development and distribution of Baijiu products.