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Innovation in Prospect: The Market of Importing Spirits to China



The global liquor market is highly competitive. To meet the consumption, the leading brands of liquor have arranged high-end and personalized markets, while the product structure has got continuous improvement. This article will give you insight into the trend of the Chinese market of exporting spirits to China.

According to the recent research report on alcohol consumption trends released by Nielsen, Brandy and Whisky are two kinds of brown spirits showing a distinct growth trend among Chinese buyers. Brandy, including cognac, has a significant decline in sales volume, while whiskey has increased in volume and price. This change is also evident at the consumer level.


Whiskey leads the fashion

In the past two years, Whisky, especially single malt Whisky, has been involved in both fashionable words and theme activities of brands. Buyers are not new to this brown liquor, from Western Europe to America to Asia, the world is experiencing its unprecedented growth miracle. Whiskey in the Chinese import market has entered the unique golden period of development. From the introduction of whiskey education to professional brand appraisal activities, from the authoritative whiskey theme wine exhibition to the highly professional master class, practitioners are gradually promoting the enthusiasm of liquor consumers, especially the young millennials for whiskey.

Cross border play of liquor and foreign wine

In the context of consumption upgrading, liquor, which accounts for the largest share of the China domestic liquor market, has indeed ushered in the sales growth of high-end categories. Still, it can not be ignored that the overall sales volume of liquor is declining. This also shows that traditional liquor enterprises must upgrade their industries and seek high-end development. But in 2019, we have seen conventional liquor brands launch transformation and innovation products for many times, and actively seek cross-border cooperation with foreign liquor companies.

Yanghe Liquor Co., Ltd., and Diageo, a global liquor giant, jointly launched a new concept of blending Whisky to create the first real, local whiskey in China. This kind of innovation is not the first time that Western liquor learning has spread to the East, or that Eastern learning accompanies Western knowledge. Last year, Luzhou Laojiao took the lead in putting white taste liquor in wooden barrels for aging and launching white taste liquor. It will take some time for this product to be accepted by the Chinese importers.

Innovation and promotion of cognac

In contrast, the Cognac market in China is too concentrated under the control of three brands. Product and marketing innovation can only be initiated from within the brand, and new brands in the market are hard to carry out. At the same time, whiskey’s rapid growth is bound to erode some of the Chinese Cognac markets.

In 2019, the high-end cognac is still dominated by private tasting dinner and on-site purchase. But Hennessy has a new way to open a brand experience franchise store in the core area of the bund to increase brand experience opportunities. Besides, Hennessy has successively carried out several large brand flash stores and Experience Week activities in many places to enhance the cultivation of mass consumers. The ongoing “Hennessy + Gourmet” tour aims to explore the relationship between cognac and traditional Chinese cuisine. That would help cultivate Chinese people’s habit of using cognac for food and deeply explore the southern market of China.

On the whole, China’s cognac market distribution is still inclining to the South comparing to the north, and the coastal area is stronger than the inland. The consumption level is continually upgrading, so brands have launched new products between VSOP and XO level, which is the general trend.

White liquor status climbing

Chinese liquor and Japanese sake, which are commonly known as two of the eight spirits, have now been compiled into the official three-level curriculum of WSET spirits. It shows that their position in the global consumer market has been improving, especially in the Chinese market. At least the success of Japanese sake in China is an undeniable fact to the naked eye. The most private goods brought by Japanese stores are a variety of sake.


Food2china, an experiencing and professional platform to promote the export spirits to China, has always kept an eye on the Chinese liquor market. They believe the success of every export and import must be closely related to fast-changing information and deep insights. To learn more about the trend of the market of importing spirits to China, you could put the trust in it.

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