British-made Baijiu set for Chinese New Year launch

A Baijiu made in the UK is launching in time for Chinese New Year.

Thompson’s Baijiu, which is made using 100% British-grown sorghum grain, launches on January 25.

Baijiu is China’s most popular spirit but it is unfamiliar to British palates. It is described as being “smooth with a unique malty and umami flavour, and distinct aroma”.

At 50% abv Thompson’s is designed to be sipped, in the traditional Chinese fashion, and it also has potential as a cocktail ingredient, according to the producer.

Founder, Pete Thompson, said: “We have created Thompson’s Baijiu to honour Chinese tradition and British science and distilling expertise. We marry innovation in growing crops for flavour and desire to create a holistic farming system, with the experience and wisdom of our partners the English Spirit Distillery to create exceptionally delicious spirits.”

Sorghum is an ancient grain, originally domesticated in Ethiopia and now grown across Africa and Asia. It is a durable and hardy crop and it is now grown in the UK as part of conservation mixes for wild birds. Thompson is now growing sorghum on his farm in Essex and aims to use his own crop in future distillations.

The new drink comes in a 50cl bottle with a recommended price of £45.

Thompson launched Cotchel apple and pear juice in 2017, using the farm’s unloved apples and pears to make juice. Later the producer looked to find a use for plums and apricots and as a consequence Reliquum Spirits was born.

Thompson has developed his own London Dry Gin to make the most of ingredients available on the farm (wild plants, citrus, coriander and angelica). He has also created an eau de vie from his own apple juice, using more unwanted fruit and reducing waste.

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