Thompson’s is ‘first’ UK-made baijiu

by Owen Bellwood

The English Spirit Distillery and Essex farmer Pete Thompson have created what they claim is the "UK's first homegrown Baijiu".

Launching on 25 January to coincide with Chinese New Year, Thompson’s Baijiu uses 100% British grown sorghum grains. The UK-sourced grains were fermented in a way that mimicked the traditional processes used in baijiu production through laboratory conditions. Technicians at the English Spirit Distillery used enzymes before final distillation to produce the desired profile and aroma. Final distillation for Thompson’s Baijiu was then carried out at the Essex distillery. Thompson said: “We’ve 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.” Thompson’s Baijiu is said to have a "malty and umami flavour" and can be consumed in "traditional Chinese fashion and has potential as a cocktail ingredient". Bottled at 50% ABV, Thompson’s Baijiu will carry an RRP of £45 (US$58) in the UK. Thompson recently launched an an apple brandy made using fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste under his Reliquum spirit brand. In May 2019, Cheng International and Fenjiu launched the UK’s “first” baijiu cocktail competition.