A new university in Renhuai, China is offering a whole course devoted to making Moutai (or Maotai), the country’s national liquor. Their motto? “Love me mao-tai, earn glory for the country.”
Maotai or Moutai is a brand of baijiu, a distilled Chinese liquor (spirit), made in the town of Maotai in China’s Guizhou province.
Behind the curious initiative is the partially state-owned company Kweichow Moutai, which, according to CNN Money, recently surpassed Diageo (the owner of Johnnie Walker) as the world’s most valuable liquor firm.
The company is one of China’s most profitable businesses, specialising in the production of the Maotai liquor, a popular Chinese drink distilled from the grain sorghum with a whopping alcohol content of 53 per cent.
Originating during the Qing Dynasty, Moutai is considered in the country as a high-end “drink of diplomacy” and is used as the go-to gift on special occasions, family reunions and business deals.
In fact, the eye-wateringly strong beverage was famously offered to Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China in 1972.
The Kweichow Moutai company hit a record revenue of $7.6 billion this quarter, which researchers say is partly due to a new strategy which has seen it lower prices to make the drink more affordable to a wider, younger consumer base.
The Kweichow Moutai Group has invested more than $290 million dollars into this university project, and according to local broadcaster CCTV, the university has around 300 teachers and a pool of renowned industry experts.
The educational centre will offer five majors including wine-making and food quality and safety. They will only take 600 students from the local province of Guangzhou at first, but they plan to open their 32-acre campus to students from all over the country in a year or so.
This unusual career offering is actually not that unconventional in China. Other universities around the mainland offer wacky degrees like Research Into Lotteries at the Beijing Normal University or Science Of Hot Noodles at Yunnan Normal University.