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Alcohol Classification

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2015/6/24

Chinese wine generally falls into four categories: white liquor, yellow liquor, beer, and fruit wine.

White Liquor

Chinese white liquor is the traditional distilled alcohol, also referred to as “rack”. White liquor’s brewing history can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty over 1,000 years ago. It is made from various staples rich in starch such as grains and potatoes, through a rather complex procedure of fermentation and distillation. Chinese white liquor is often very strong, containing over 40% alcohol, but one can find some lighter white liquor on the market nowadays, with less than 40% alcohol.

Chinese liquor is characterized by its clear fluids, pure content, lingering aroma and strong pungent flavor. It is widely produced throughout the country, but particularly in these three regions: Shanxi, Sichuan and Guizhou. White liquor from different regions often differs greatly in taste..

The most well-known white liquor in China includes the Maotai Liquor, Five Grain Liquor, Xifeng Liquor and Shuanggou Liquor.

Yellow liquor

Yellow liquor is a spirit exclusive to China. It derives its name from the yellow or brown color of the fluid. Yellow liquor is brewed from grain such as sticky rice through a complicated process of braising, fermentation and compression. Yellow liquor is generally light with about 15%-18% alcohol. It is nutritious due to its high content of amino acids, sugar and vitamins. The most unique feature of yellow liquor is that its taste is influenced by how long it ages, and generally speaking, the longer the aging process, the better the flavor.

China produces various yellow liquors. The most famous area for yellow liquor is the lower region of Yangtze River, and in Shaoxing in east China's Zhejiang Province.


Among the liquor family of beverages, the case could be made that beer is the most popular of all with the largest number of consumers. Compared with other alcoholic beverages, beer has the lowest alcohol content of about 2.5-7.5%. Modern times have witnessed a rapid development of beer in China. At present, the annual output of beer ranks second in all the world. The most famous beer in China is Qingdao Beer, and in the city of Qingdao, an annual beer festival is held offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy its fragrant taste.

Fruit Wine

Fruit Wine can come from grapes, pears, oranges, or lichees. It is made by brewing the raw materials of grain through a complex fermentation process that uses wine yeast as the sugarized raising agent with the living mildew as the main microbes. It is also characterized by a semi-solid fermentation. Fruit wine usually has a very low alcohol content of 7%-18%. Fruit wine first was distilled in China over 2,000 year ago and flourished during the Tang Dynasty. The most well-known fruit Wines in China are the Zhangyu, Dynasty and Great Wall brands.