White liquor wins over expo guests in Sweden

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)


Visitors sample drinks provided by Xinghuacun Fenjiu during the VINORDIC expo in Gothenburg. [Photo by Wen Zhaoyan for China Daily]

As the only Chinese white liquor brand displayed at the 2023 VINORDIC, the largest spring expo for alcoholic drinks in Sweden, Fenjiu made by Xinghuacun Fenjiu, a renowned distillery in China's Shanxi province, attracted the attention of visitors and buyers.

The event was held in the city of Gothenburg from April 14-15, attended by 150-plus suppliers and more than 22,000 visitors from across the world.

Magnus Reuterdahl, a Swedish reporter, was one of the visitors drawn to the Xinghuacun Fenjiu booth.

"This Chinese liquor has a unique fragrance and taste," he said.

After tasting the company's different liquor varieties, he said two cocktails were the most impressive. "One is a cocktail with watermelon flavor and another featuring a lychee taste."

Reuterdahl said it was not his first time to try these drinks from Shanxi.

Earlier in March 21, Xinghuacun Fenjiu hosted a tasting event in Spritmuseum, which displays spirits and related art, in Stockholm. Reuterdahl, as a reporter covering the alcoholic beverage industry, was present along with industry experts and clients' representatives.

At the Gothenburg expo, many visitors said this was their first time to taste the white liquor of Xinghuacun Fenjiu and they "like the taste and fragrance very much".

Some visitors keen on Chinese culture said they were interested in the cultural connotations of the liquor after the company's representatives introduced to them the history of the time-honored brand.

After studying relics of an ancient production site at the location of Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group and examining related documents, researchers believed Xinghuacun Fenjiu is one of the earliest liquor products in China. And its development has been associated with literature as it had been frequently referred to by ancient poets and literati.

Xinghuacun Fenjiu is also one of the pioneering liquor companies of China to go global, according to the company's representatives.

After it won a first prize at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, the United States, in 1915, Fenjiu-branded white liquor began to attract the attention of international buyers. Since then, Fenjiu brands, including Fenjiu and Zhuyeqing, have become popular in overseas markets.

But the early 20th century was not the beginning of Fenjiu's globalization.

A bottle with a Fenjiu label, which was used to export Fenjiu liquor made in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), is exhibited in the British Museum in London. Researchers said this bottle is evidence of China's first labeled export of liquor to Europe.

Xinghuacun Fenjiu began its commercial-scale exports following the Panama Expo. It stepped up its globalization process in the late 20th century.

To date, white liquor products made by Xinghuacun Fenjiu have been sold to foreign markets through its 50-plus dealers. They are available in more than 200 cities in 80-plus countries, according to the company's representatives.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.