Moutai is a type of Baijiu, a distilled Chinese spirit which translates literally as “white liquor”. Moutai is named after the place of origin and produced only along the Chishui River in Moutai Town of China's Guizhou Province. It is now one of the world’s most valuable spirits.
Moutai originated during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), when northern Chinese distillers introduced advanced techniques to local processes to create a distinctive type of Baijiu. Thereafter Moutai was produced at several local distilleries. During the Chinese Civil War, People's Liberation Army forces camped at Moutai and partook of the local liquor. Following the Communist victory in the war, the government consolidated the local distilleries into one state-owned company, Kweichow Moutai (the name is an old romanization of "Guizhou Moutai"). It became a popular drink at state functions and one of the country's most popular spirits.
Moutai first won international fame when winning a gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Moutai also claimed two gold medals separately at the Paris International Exposition in 1985 and 1986. Moutai has won 14 international awards and 20 domestic awards since the Chinese Revolution.
Moutai has been used on official occasions in feasts with foreign heads of state and distinguished guests visiting China. It is the only alcoholic beverage presented as an official gift by Chinese embassies in foreign countries and regions. It received wide exposure in China and abroad when Zhou Enlai used Moutai to entertain Richard Nixon during the state banquet for the U.S. presidential visit to China in 1972. Zhou told Nixon that Moutai had been famous since it won recognition at the San Francisco World's Fair in 1915, and that during the Long March, "Moutai was used by us to cure all kinds of diseases and wounds." Nixon replied, "Let me make a toast with this panacea." When Deng Xiaoping visited the United States in 1979, Henry Kissinger told him “I think if we drink enough Moutai we can solve anything.”
Moutai became both the drink of choice for greeting foreign dignitaries and the bribe of choice to high officials, it is now available in over 100 countries and regions across the world.
Today, the ancient traditional technique is perfectly integrated with modern technology to create one of the most valuable spirit brands in the world, "Kweichow Moutai".