Cover Kweichow Moutai 1974 (Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's)

A lot of Kweichou Moutai fetched more than US$1 million at Sotheby’s in London, marking the highest price achieved at auction for the Chinese liquor to date

There have only been four occasions when a wine or spirit lot has sold for more than US$1 million at auction. The most recent was on 18 June at Sotheby’s in London when a lot of Chinese spirit Moutai sold for £1 million (US$1.4million). This sale also established a new auction record for a single lot of Moutai, the Chinese distilled spirit made from fermented sorghum in Maotai, Guizhou province.

The lot included 24 bottles of Kweichow Moutai “Sun Flower” 1974, housed in the original wooden crate, and was the top lot in the Sotheby’s Rare Whisky & Moutai | Extraordinary Spirits from Asia & Scotland sale. Kweichow Moutai, a part publicly traded, part state-owned enterprise, is the leading producer of China’s popular baiju spirit.

The lot was acquired by an Asian collector after feverish bidding that saw 14 bidders drive the final sale price to five times its pre-sale low estimate (GBP200,000-450,000).

“We have seen some spectacular results for Moutai sold in Hong Kong, but this momentous price takes the baijiu spirit’s standing amongst collectors to new heights,” said Paul Wong, Sotheby’s Moutai Specialist, acknowledging a growing interest in the popularity of the spirit.

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