What is Baijiu

What is Baijiu?

Aside from being the most popular distilled spirit in the world with production that surpassed vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whiskey COMBINED in 2019. Baijiu, pronounced “bye-joe”, is produced by a centuries old process using starchy raw materials, primarily sorghum – but wheat, rice, corn, barley, peas, or other grains can also be used.

Production is reliant on an external source of enzymes known as, “qu“, to convert the starches into sugars and then into alcohol during a solid state fermentation process, which is uniquely different from the submerged fermentation process used in most western spirits. Qu is a solid mass of coarsely crushed grains that contains all of the fungi and microorganisms necessary for this conversion as well as the yeast necessary to convert these now fermentable sugars into alcohol.

The end result is a strong (the alcohol content ranges from 38-68% ABV) but delicate, flavorful but not overpowering distilled spirit that can be enjoyed neat at mealtime or combined into a fun and exciting cocktail any time of year.

Types of baijiu

There are four major subcategories of baijiu:

  • Strong Aroma
  • Sauce Aroma
  • Light Aroma
  • Rice Aroma

Although they all share a common lineage, these four categories can be as distinct from one another as vodka is to tequila, or rum is to gin.