After two years of careful polishing, the first whisky distillery invested and built by Pernod Ricard, which operates well-known whisky brands such as Ballantine, Chivas, royal salute and zunmeichun, has finally been officially put into operation in China!
This afternoon, the world’s second-largest producer of spirits and wine announced the official opening of its diechuan malt whisky distillery in Emeishan, Sichuan Province. It is worth noting that this is the first malt whisky distillery invested by the international spirits and wine group in China.
Panorama of diechuan malt whisky distillery
“We hope to make use of our advanced brewing technology and the famous high-quality water source in Emei Mountain to create a landmark malt whisky with Chinese characteristics and lead the trend of the Chinese market. We realize that malt whisky has great opportunities in China, and its competitors are also following, and polerica hopes to become a clear leader in the market.” Philippe guettat, chairman and chief executive of Baole Liga Asia, said in the online communication with snack generation.
He described the official unveiling of the winery today as another milestone in this journey. “Not only Chinese consumers, but also we hope to bring refreshing Chinese malt whisky to global consumers. We look forward to drinking Single Malt Whisky products from diechuan malt whisky distillery with whisky lovers all over the world,” Qi Dehui said.
Philippe guettat, chairman and chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard Asia
Snack generation introduced that Baole Ricard plans to invest 1 billion yuan for diechuan malt whisky distillery in ten years. It is worth mentioning that the tourist center in the plant area will also be officially opened in 2023, which is expected to attract about 2 million tourists in ten years.
Tonight, the snack generation will take you to see it.
Let’s “tour” the winery first.
Xiaoshidai saw at today’s online press conference that diechuan malt whisky distillery covers a total area of 18 hectares, about 5 kilometers away from Emei peak and surrounded by water on three sides. From the perspective of the winery’s iconic viewing platform, you can see the beautiful mountains, microwave rippling rivers, quiet terraces and towering cliffs.
Exterior view of the tasting room of diechuan malt whisky factory
“We hope to retain the feeling of going into the wilderness,” Neri & Hu, who is responsible for designing the winery, said at today’s press conference. Perhaps because of this, although there are holes in the interior, the appearance of this modern winery “rising from the ground” among famous mountains and rivers does not seem abrupt, and its architecture is quite harmonious and unified with the surrounding natural scenery.
Entering the winery, there are different buildings such as tasting room, fermentation workshop and distillation workshop. In the future, tourists and whisky lovers arriving here will have an immersive “wine + Beauty” experience, which can not only enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rivers, but also visit the whisky making process and taste.
Interior view of the tasting room of diechuan malt whisky factory
In the view of Pernod Ricard, this is also one of the key links in telling the story of “whisky of Chinese origin”.
“Our original intention is to build a winery with iconic characteristics and brew an iconic whisky brand around Mount Emei, a site with Chinese local characteristics.” Qi Dehui told the snack generation today. In addition, the winery is also combined with tourism culture, “Because in addition to brewing world-class whisky, we also hope to tell the story of Chinese origin whisky.”
He said that through the visitor center of the winery, the majority of tourists can explore the culture of malt whisky while tasting the refined malt whisky with Chinese flavor, and is expected to establish the reputation of Chinese original malt whisky through their word-of-mouth. “For example, our Chivas comes from speiser production area in Scotland. The customs of this production area have been fully interpreted, which has helped the inheritance and development of Chivas brand.”
Viewing lobby of diechuan malt whisky distillery
With the “local style”, this foreign wine giant also gave its first whisky distillery in China a very Chinese name – “diechuan”. According to Baole Ricard, “diechuan” means “rich and full, with clear layers”, and “Chuan” symbolizes that it comes from Sichuan. These two words are combined to deduce the “mountain and water” of Emei scenery and the origin of whisky products “Qing and lie” and “beginning and end” of winery construction.
First batch of new wine
In August this year, the diechuan malt whisky distillery of Pernod Ricard has been officially put into operation.
Xiaoshidai learned that the water used by the winery to produce whisky is from the natural water source of Mount Emei. When talking about the first batch of new wine that the outside world is curious about, Qi Dehui told xiaoshidai that at present, the winery has just completed the brewing of new wine and has entered oak barrels for aging, but the final time to market depends on the quality and degree of oak barrel aging.
“What I can introduce now is that, first of all, according to our current experience, compared with Scotland and Ireland, the aging cycle in the weather and humidity conditions of Mount Emei may be shorter, but in any case, we should ensure that it reaches the highest quality in the world. Secondly, according to Chinese regulations, whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least two years, and for polerica In terms of quality and flavor, three years may be a better choice, but the decision is ultimately in the hands of our chief winemaker Yang Tao, “he said.
Oak barrel of diechuan malt whisky distillery
So, what kind of unique flavor will malt whisky from Emei Mountain taste?
Qi Dehui told xiaoshidai that it would take several months to gradually learn more about the quality of these new wines. “The local conditions of Mount Emei, especially the climatic conditions, will interact with the liquor through oak barrels and finally determine the final flavor of the liquor.” however, he also said that according to the feedback of Yang Tao, the chief winemaker of the winery and his team, The taste and quality of the first batch of new wines “fully meet expectations”.
Although the specific flavor of the first batch of new wines on the market is not clear, it is certain that it will be positioned as refined single malt whisky and take the high-end price route.
“The quantity of the first batch of new wine is not large. We hope to gradually expand our production through the initial brewing situation, which is a more stable production mode. Finally, the quantity of our single products will be relatively small, because our quality level determines that the quantity is small, and the products will be scarce,” Qi Dehui said.
Fermentation workshop of diechuan malt whisky distillery. It is reported that the winery is committed to carbon neutralization, uses 100% renewable power in the operation process, minimizes the use of natural gas, and offsets some carbon emissions by participating in local biogas projects in Sichuan. 100% of the wastewater generated in the production process of the winery has been effectively treated.
In the future, the whisky produced by diechuan malt whisky distillery will also be sold to other markets around the world.
“Our primary goal is to conquer Chinese consumers, and then we hope to provide it to global malt whisky lovers. As I have repeatedly stressed, our goal is to place the malt whisky brewed in China on the global map of high-quality malt whisky.” Qi Dehui told the snack generation that with the experience of polaroid and the local conditions of Mount Emei, “We are fully confident that we can do that.”
“The era of heroes rising together”
In recent years, whisky, which is still a minority category, is obviously heating up rapidly. Foreign and local liquor enterprises have invested and built whisky wineries in Yunnan, Fujian, Shandong and other places in China.
“At present, China’s whisky market is an era in which a group of Heroes rise together, but if we turn back the time five years ago, when Pernod Ricard first started our malt whisky project in China, there were almost no local malt whisky wineries, and we are indeed the first international spirits and wine manufacturer to take this solid step,” Qi Dehui lamented.
Viewing corridor of diechuan malt whisky distillery
We have to say that baoleli’s pressure is the right chip – in recent years, China’s whisky consumption has shown a high growth. “In the past five years, the growth rate of China’s whisky market has reached 10%, of which malt whisky has reached 30%. In addition, we note that young people, especially in China, have a strong willingness to try new products and tastes.” Qi Dehui told xiaoshidai.
Pernod Ricard expects that whisky will also become a new growth point of its business in China.
“In China, Pernod Ricard is a leading imported spirits and wine company. The volume of business in China is very large. At present, it is our four major ambitions together with the United States, India and global travel retail
Distillation workshop of diechuan malt whisky distillery
So, in the increasingly competitive whisky market, how can Baole Ricard win the favor of Chinese consumers with the local whisky produced by Emeishan?
“This is a very big challenge, but we are not afraid of it,” Qi Dehui told xiaoshidai that the company has many positive factors, “First of all, our site is very unique. Sichuan is the cradle of Baijiu, and it has some pride in terms of climate and customs. Such a solid foundation can also ensure that we have the ability to build a malveric whisky with the highest quality in the world.
Chinese contemporary avant-garde artists look forward to the artistic installation work fractal structure – infinite landscape located in diechuan malt whisky distillery
Secondly, he said that Pernod Ricardo will assist in the form of consumer education, such as through the tourist center of diechuan malt whisky distillery, so that a large number of tourists can become the “communication ambassador” of its whisky. “We will open the situation through word-of-mouth with the help of tasting activities and the introduction of malt whisky history and technology.”
“From the perspective of consumer education, we also think that the more manufacturers actively building local malt whisky, the better, because they can help us attract and recruit more and more Chinese malt whisky lovers and provide them with more high-quality products,” Qi Dehui told the snack generation.