China’s illustrious luxury liquor producer, Kweichow Moutai, is breaking away from its fiery baijiu spirits with an enticing twist. After successful collaborations with Luckin Coffee and domestic dairy giant Mengniu, Moutai is now stirring up excitement with Mars, Inc-owned Dove. This latest partnership has birthed a limited edition line of alcohol-infused chocolates that is capturing the hearts of both traditional connoisseurs and a younger, trendier audience. In this article, we’ll delve into Moutai’s strategic diversification efforts and how these unique collaborations are reshaping the Chinese luxury brand landscape.
Kweichow Moutai, often dubbed as the national liquor of China, has a rich history but is looking to adapt to changing consumer preferences. The company’s move towards diversification is driven by a desire to connect with younger consumers. Jason Yu, the Greater China Managing Director of Kantar Worldpanel, noted that Moutai is concerned about its current consumer base being too concentrated on older demographics, prompting them to explore novel collaborations.
Moutai initiated its foray into unique product tie-ups last year when it partnered with domestic dairy brand Mengniu, resulting in a series of alcohol-infused ice creams that garnered attention among Chinese consumers. The allure for younger consumers lies in the novelty of being able to buy into the Moutai brand at a fraction of the cost of a traditional bottle of Moutai liquor, which can have an average market price of 1,499 Chinese Yuan (US$206) for a 500ml bottle. Also, Moutai’s earlier collaboration with Luckin Coffee, the “Soy Sauce-flavoured Latte”, achieved an astonishing feat by selling 5.42 million cups on its launch day.
Moutai’s most recent collaboration with Dove has given birth to liquor-infused chocolates that have quickly become the talk of the town. The chocolates, infused with Moutai’s signature baijiu, come in various packaging options, with prices ranging from 35 Chinese Yuan (US$4.88) for a gift box of two pieces to 99 Chinese Yuan for a box of six. The partnership aims to make Moutai more accessible to younger consumers and is perfectly timed for the Mid-Autumn Festival, a season for gifting chocolate and alcoholic products in China.
The Moutai-Dove collaboration is not just about boosting sales; it’s also a strategic move to enhance the brand’s image and appeal. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the retail value of the chocolate confectionery sector in China has shown steady growth in recent years, and collaborations like this can help Moutai reach new heights.
While these collaborations may drive short-term excitement among the younger generation, experts suggest that the unique taste of Kweichow Moutai liquor remains its core competitive advantage. Older consumers typically associate it with special occasions like banquets and business dinners, contributing to its cachet. However, it remains to be seen whether the trend of liquor-infused chocolates and similar products will have a lasting impact.
Kweichow Moutai’s quest for diversification through unconventional collaborations is changing the way luxury brands engage with consumers, both young and old. As Moutai continues to experiment with new product offerings, it will be fascinating to see how these partnerships shape the future of this iconic Chinese brand.
Photo from: Kweichow Moutai