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The world’s most valuable liquor maker signs agreement of collaboration with WSTA


Chinese Distiller Kweichow Moutai Co. outlined their plans to expand sales overseas using the UK as a launch pad into Europe.


Moutai Chairman Yuan Regnuo laid out his global expansion plans at the signing of an historic agreement for mutual development with Britain’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association during a visit to the UK this week.

He revealed that the Chinese distiller is planning to set up five offices around the world in a bid to grow their overseas sales to account for more than 10% of total sales by 2020.

In 2017 the Moutai say they exported 17.5 tons of Moutai liquor to the UK, generating nearly £2.5 million in revenue. Making the UK one of Moutai’s fastest growing international markets.

Yuan Renguo, Chairman of Moutai, said:

“Moutai attaches great importance to the UK market and we hope that we can win over more consumer groups in the UK. We will study the needs of local markets in Europe, innovate the products’ alcohol content and taste, continue to launch new types of products that suit UK consumers’ tastes, expand sales and promote the brand recognition and influence of Moutai in the UK market. Also, we are determined to make the UK as a model market for Moutai going into Europe.”

The aim of the document, signed in the City of London’s Guildhall on Tuesday, is to create a blueprint to build a strategic, cooperative partnership between the two industry leaders.

Both Moutai and the WSTA have agreed to work to identify opportunities to promote a regular and open dialogue on matters of mutual interest.

Bolstering the visit Moutai industry bosses accompanied the Governor of Guizhou Province, Shen Yiqin, who was on a two day visit to the UK promoting business links with her province and the UK.

The agreement to work together was signed by WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale and Yuan Renguo, Chairman of the Kweichow Moutai Group.

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“Strengthening ties with countries outside the EU is a key priority for WSTA. By working closely with the wine and spirit industry colleagues, across the globe, together we can better advise politicians on the benefits of free trade deals and how to avoid unnecessary barriers for the free flow of trade.

"We have already taken great steps to cement a working agreement with colleagues in Europe with the signing of a Brexit position paper.

"But the WSTA recognise that there is more to be done to help members gear up for future export and import opportunities.

"The agreement of understanding with Moutai and the coming together with politicians from both countries shows the keenness to collaborate and build industry partnerships.”

The grain liquor giant’s widespread popularity in China has allowed it to secure its position as the world’s top distiller by market value.

For the second year running the company has surged past its own projection by more than three times, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr Regnuo, added:

“Over the last few years China-UK friendship have continued to warm with the efforts of the leaders of both countries – welcoming a golden era of China-UK relations. This has had a direct impact on increasing our trade relations: sales British products, such as Scotch Whisky, continue to grow in China; Moutai and other Chinese liquor brands continue to increase sales in the UK.”

Also present at the signing ceremony were Jonathan Driver, Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Trustee and a member of Worshipful Company of Distillers and Michael Saunders, WSTA board member and member of the Worshipful Company of Vintners.

The WSET already run a course out of Moutai’s privately funded not-for-profit University in China, and its hope is the visit will strengthen ties and create further opportunities to grow wine and spirit education courses between the UK and China.

The fiery liquor made from Chinese sorghum alcohol “baijiu” (or “white liquor”) and water from Moutai is famous for its complex flavour and purity.

Current land controls in the province means the company won’t be able to produce more than 60,000 metric tons of its baijiu annually.

In the face of production limits Moutai are keen to find opportunities outside of China to expand its operations.

 

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