Chinese alcohol brand Kweichow Moutai, best known for brewing the fiery grain-based drink baijiu, has overtaken Johnnie Walker-brand owner Diageo to become the world’s most valuable liquor-company, the Financial Times reports. Moutai’s market capitalization reached $71.5bn on the Shanghai exchange on Friday, while Diageo’s London capitalization is $71.1bn. The Chinese company’s share price has soared in the past year as it has seen rising sales from Chinese consumers upgrading to premium brands, and as a culture of business banqueting and gifting has recovered after a fierce crackdown on lavish spending in officialdom. Baijiu has few fans outside China, and about 95% of Moutai’s sales are from the domestic market. But total baijiu sales values have surged ahead and now account for 37.5% of total global spirits values, according to the Brand Finance’s most recent Spirits 50 report.
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