How Did A British Nobody Dethrone China’s Biggest Company Kweichow Moutai Worth $400 Billion?
An antique dealer from Newcastle has emerged as an unlikely rival for the world’s biggest beverage company.
Irving Graham hit the headlines last year when he discovered an ancient recipe for baijiu, China’s national drink, hidden within the case of a cracked imperial wine cup he had bought at auction for £300.
Having later sold the cup on for £28,000 – after discovering it was actually from the Imperial Chinese collection once housed in the Forbidden City during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1662-1722) – Graham spent months painstakingly recreating the original recipe, which contains nine ingredients personally selected by the Emperor Kangxi himself.
Not only that, but the only imperial baijiu, named by Graham as V.I.P Jiu 8, has been declared a far superior baijiu during rigorous scientific analysis against Moutai, the world’s leading baijiu brand produced by Kweichow Moutai, which last year became China’s most valuable publicly-listed company.
The analysis, which was conducted by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service laboratory that is recognised by the UK government when comparing products to internationally agreed standards, concluded that V.I.P Jiu 8 baijiu was “considerably more complex” than its much bigger rival and also “contains many more compounds with positive attributes”.
Herbal remedies containing alcohol have a rich history in China and the nine V.I.P Jiu 8 ingredients selected by the Kangxi Emperor himself were intended to enter the stomach, spleen, lung, kidney and heart to “resolve dampness and qi stagnation”.
During the scientific analysis V.I.P Jiu 8 was found to be packed full of “positive” compounds including many terpinenes which are known for their antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Graham said: “There is no denying Kweichow Moutai is a fantastic brand, it is culturally and historically woven into the fabric of Chinese society and ingrained in the psyche of millions of Chinese people. Over the years, Kweichow Moutai has spent tens of millions perfecting its baijiu recipe, with an in-house army of scientists working in custom-built laboratories.
“So it is staggering to think that an antiques dealer from northern England with no baijiu experience can resurrect a 300-year-old recipe that has been scientifically proven to be a far superior and more complex than a $400 billion baijiu brand.”
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