China's 'Firewater' Liquor Sells for $1.4 Million at Auction in London
A famous Chinese liquor, known for being consumed by former Presidents Richard Nixon and Barack Obama when visiting the country, sold for over $ 1 million at auction in London.
The auction: According to CNN Business, on June 18, K Weichow Moutai set the record for "the highest price ever paid in an auction for a single Moutai lot outside of China".
Although the identity of the buyer was not disclosed, the bid was allegedly from an Asian collector.
The offer was valued at $ 278,500 to $ 626,800, but the case sold for $ 1.4 million among 14 bidders. This was also the first case of Moutai ever presented at Sotheby's auction in the UK.
The lot consisted of 24 bottles of Moutai under the "Sun Flower" brand.
The line was first introduced in 1969 but was "very sought after" in 1974 due to its "relatively limited production".
Moutai's Story: Moutai, named after the small town of Maotai in southwest China's Guizhou Province, is rare as it can only be made in this town. Partly state-owned and partly publicly traded, the company has become China's most valuable company outside of technology and is worth more than the country's four largest banks.
The drink is a clear spirit called "firewater" because it contains 53% alcohol. The brand is viewed as a "luxury status symbol" as some consumers buy the bottles to keep as an investment or collector's item, reported CNN Business. Some bottles sell for up to $ 400,000.
Moutai was allegedly used to disinfect their wounds during the Red Army's "Long March" in China in the 1930s and used to "turn off" before an operation, according to the China Daily.
It is the favorite drink of Mao Zedong, the founder of communist China. It was also used to welcome former President Nixon during his trip to China in 1972 and in 2013 when Obama met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The liquor costs around $ 209 for a half-liter bottle, which is considered cheap in China due to the fast sell-off. Valued at $ 421 billion, Moutai is worth more than Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nike, and Disney.
What People Say: Westerners have described Moutai as "drinking liquid razor blades" and "fiery, throat-tingling liquor" from CNN Business.
Ben Cavender, executive director of China Market Research Group, says it will be gone "almost immediately" and people will be "screaming" for it.
"I think if we drink enough moutai we can solve everything," said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974 at a state dinner.
Another Chinese local, Qi Wang, says that "K Weichow Moutai is the leader of Maotai" and that it "affects all aspects of the city's development".
Featured image via Moutai China
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