China Alcohol Johnnie Walker

Chinese Baijiu overtakes whisky as most valuable spirit


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

March 22, 2017 | 3 min read

Baijiu, the fiery Chinese alcoholic drink, has overtaken Whisky to become the world’s most valuable spirit, according to Brand Finance.

Alcohol spirits

Chinese Baijiu has overtaken whisky as most valuable spirit

Baijiu’s share of total brand value grew from 23% in 2016 to 37.5% in 2017. The surge saw the Chinese beverage, which is made from wheat, overtake Whisky, which dropped from 37% in 2016 to 28% in 2017.

It is the first time the Chinese spirit has held a greater share of brand value that any other spirit.

Baijiu brand Moutai is ranked the world’s most valuable spirit brand at $11.5 billion for the second year running, well ahead of Johnnie Walker, which is valued at $4.5 billion.

Baijiu brand Yanghe secured third place after a 50% surge in growth saw it valued at $4.2 billion. Jack Daniels and Hennessey placed fourth and fifth with $3 billion and $2.7 billion, respectively.

Moutai’s value grew 60% in 2017, driven by strong consumer demand for the brand, despite an increase in bottle price, which rose to RMB 1,200 or $175. The brand has also expanded into other markets including the US and Germany.

Four Baijiu brands ranked in the top ten, securing a combined value of over US$20 billion.

The growing influence and value of Chinese brands was evident earlier this year in Brand Finance Global 500 list, which revealed brands such as Alibaba, Tencent and WeChat were demonstrating large growth to jump up the global rankings.

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh, however, cautioned that growth in the Baijiu market may be a temporary trend.

“These rates of growth support existing evidence to suggest that consumers are trading up to more premium Baijius. The Baijiu market is resurgent but some have suggested this may only be temporary and that Chinese consumers’ tastes will diversify without corresponding growth internationally to compensate. In such a situation, strong brands will be essential to maintain market share.”

The world’s most valuable beer brand is Bud Light, which increased its brand value by 34% to reach $6.6 billion, ahead of Budweiser at $5.9 billion and Heineken at $5.2 billion.

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