Kweichow Moutai to expand into Europe

Chinese distiller Kweichow Moutai Co. has outlined plans to expand sales overseas using the UK as a launch pad into Europe.

Moutai chairman, Yuan Regnuo revealed the company is planning to set up five offices around the world in a bid to grow their overseas sales, accounting for more than 10% of total sales by 2020.

Moutai’s main production is in its Chinese grain spirit, baijiu, and the company exported 17.5 tons to the UK in 2017, generating nearly £2.5m in revenue and making the UK one of Moutai’s fastest growing international markets.

Renguo said: “Moutai attaches great importance to the UK market and we hope that we can win over more consumer groups in the UK.

“We will study the needs of local markets in Europe, innovate the products’ alcohol content and taste, continue to launch new types of products that suit UK consumers’ tastes, expand sales and promote the brand recognition and influence of Moutai in the UK market. Also, we are determined to make the UK as a model market for Moutai going into Europe.”

Current land controls in Moutai’s home province in China means the company won’t be able to produce more than 60,000 metric tons of its baijiu annually. 

In the face of production limits, Moutai is actively seeking opportunities outside of China to expand its operations.

Both Moutai and the Wine and Spirits Trade Association have agreed to work to identify opportunities on matters of mutual interest.

The agreement to work together was signed by Renugo and Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.

Beale added: “Strengthening ties with countries outside the EU is a key priority for WSTA. By working closely with the wine and spirit industry colleagues, across the globe, together we can better advise politicians on the benefits of free trade deals and how to avoid unnecessary barriers for the free flow of trade.

“We have already taken great steps to cement a working agreement with colleagues in Europe with the signing of a Brexit position paper.

“But the WSTA recognise that there is more to be done to help members gear up for future export and import opportunities.

“The agreement of understanding with Moutai and the coming together with politicians from both countries shows the keenness to collaborate and build industry partnerships.”