Moutai-flavored lattes are prepared for takeaway orders at a Luckin Coffee outlet in Yichang, Hubei province, on Monday. (LIU JUNFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY)
China's top liquor maker Kweichow Moutai and domestic coffee chain Luckin Coffee have got a hit on their hands with a new baijiu-flavored latte released Monday that quickly sold out in Beijing.
The latte, emblazoned with the iconic Moutai logo, contains less than 0.5 percent (alcohol by volume) of 53 degree Moutai, and soon became one of the most discussed topics on Chinese social media with people curious about how traditional Chinese liquor would taste with coffee.
In Beijing, the Moutai-flavored latte sold out in some Luckin Coffee locations before midday. And many had to shut down their online ordering system as orders surged.
Staff members at the Luckin Coffee branch near Huixindong Bridge in Chaoyang district said that the majority of orders they had received on Monday morning were for the Moutai-flavored latte.
"It seems that people prefer iced latte, so we quickly used up the ice in the branch. The number of orders is scary," said a barista surnamed Zhang.
She said she had no choice but to temporarily stop the online ordering system at around 1:30 pm because there were more than 200 orders still to be completed and almost all of them were for the Moutai-flavored latte.
People have been sharing their reactions after trying the latte on social media, with most agreeing that the aroma of the baijiu is very strong. Some people said they even felt dizzy after drinking the coffee because of its alcohol content.
Some also wondered whether they would be allowed to drive after drinking the latte. In response, Luckin Coffee stated that underage people, pregnant women, drivers and those who are allergic to alcohol are advised not to order the drink.
On Monday, an officer from the Beijing Traffic Administration Bureau also asked people not to drive, no matter how much alcohol is actually in the latte.
In recent years, Moutai has been looking for ways to be more accessible and pull in a new generation of customers, said Zhu Danpeng, a food and drink analyst.
"By working with Luckin Coffee, which surpasses Starbucks as the largest coffee house operator in China, Moutai has made its brand younger and has generated more opportunities to develop its extended product portfolio for younger consumers in the future," Zhu said.
Moutai has run snazzy marketing campaigns in recent years in its bid for younger customers, such as by rolling out Moutai ice cream, figurines, scented sachets, canvas bags and other cultural creative products.