Baijiu Production in Relation to Other Spirits

Regional Differences in Baijiu Style and Production

I'm probably going to refer to this table I made about baijiu a lot over several posts, so don't worry too much about taking it all in today. The table lists the properties of the four main styles of baijiu (strong, light, sauce, and rice). There are more styles than this, but they're mostly combinations of these four. 

These properties are not legally binding,  but general and historical properties based on the major producers of each region as described in the book Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits by Derek Sandhaus . I'll be covering a lot of categories individually here on Alcademics, but should you want to skip ahead, check out DrinkBaijiu.com

Today I just want to mention the regions of origin of each of the four main styles, highlighted in pink:

 

  Region of Origin Grains Fermentation Qu Distillation Aging
Strong Aroma Sichuan Single (sorghum) or Mixed Earthen pits, continuous fermentation Big qu, Wheat-based Pot stills Ceramic or sometimes stainless steel
Light Aroma Northern China + Taiwan Sorghum + rice husks Stone jars Big qu, barley + peas Post stills, Erguotou second pot head, or Fenjiu  
Sauce Aroma Southern Sichuan/Moutai   Stone brick-lined pits, 8 cycles of fermentation and distillation, also piled Wheat 8 cycles of fermentation and distillation  Ceramic urns, 3 years minimum
Rice Aroma Southeastern China Rice + glutinous rice Stone jars Small rice qu, with optional medicinal herbs Sometimes in continuous stills Limestone caves, in ceramic jars, sometimes infused

 

So that corresponds (very) roughly to:

China baijiu map

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