Lithuanian company Stumbras has started producing a high end version of the traditional Chinese drink, baijiu, which is massively popular in China.
© Vida Press

“Every Chinese town can produce baijiu vodka - It takes up about 98% of spirits market there. Of course, the Chinese would not buy it from us, if it would be just a simple product. Its production costs are high,” said Aurimas Zaleckas, the head of export at Stumbras.

“But there is another nuance - we are Europeans. The Chinese associate Europe with a high added value - high quality products. For them it is of particular concern. They see their favourite product made in Europe and to them it is cleaner, better, and more ecological.”

While local Chinese people can make the drink for a few euros, but the Lithuanian version costs €40 in China.

The company's export manager Aurimas Zaleckas lived in Beijing for 8 years - and studying economics there, and later founded a trading company before joining Stumbras.

The first Lithuanian Bahia consignment from Stumbras reached China last autumn and it wasn’t easy for the company to get to that point

"The procedure was very long, using Chinese raw materials - Baiji leaven vodka - no one in Europe is producing it. In order to import from China, we had to overcome numerous bureaucratic obstacles. We had to plant and look and taste to choose, and to comply with legal requirements, get customs clearance. Only when we have received the leaven, technologists were able to start work – the preparations for it took three years," said Zaleckas.

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