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Daohuaxiang Liquor

Source: hubei.gov.cn 08/11/2016 05:08:34

Introduction:

Daohuaxiang is a famous liquor brand from Hubei. Daohuaxiang Liquor Co Ltd ranked fourth among the top ten Chinese liquor producers in 2009. It is a leading representative of the Hubei liquor industry in the domestic market. The brand value of Daohuaxiang has risen to about 5.6 billion yuan. Daohuaxiang Liquor uses the traditional brewing technology of five cereals. It is finely brewed from top quality red sorghum, wheat, rice, glutinous rice and corn by using unique "Bao Bao Yeast" as the saccharifying ferment, mineral water from "Dragon Eye", and traditional fermentation technology of mixed steaming, mixed fuel and mud kiln. The product is clear, aromatic, mellow, refreshing and has a lasting aftertaste.

High-quality water source

The water for the liquor comes from a nonstop spring called Faguan Spring, 8.2 km off Longquan town. The spring is clear and sweet and has run for thousands of years. It nourishes the farmland of Longquan town and brings about a bumper harvest for the area every year.

According to the thousand year old legend, a Taoist named Zhang Faguan returned hometown after having learnt Taoism from Sichuan and locked a dragon in a pond, which created the long lasting spring.

A twisting mountain path leads to Faguan Spring, which is surrounded by towering ancient trees and beautiful scenery. According to the "National Appraisal Group for Drinking Natural Mineral Water" from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources, the ground water is pollution-free, conforms to the national standard for "Drinking Natural Mineral Water (GB8537-87), contains multiple enriching elements including strontium, calcium and zinc, has balanced acidity and is a rare water resource for the liquor industry.

Today, Daohuaxiang has made the spring even more accessible for the community. The company spent 5.8 million yuan in building an 8.2 km closed pipeline to lead the water to the town to bring drinking water to the residents and water for brewing Daohuaxiang Liquor.

Unique mud brick yeast-making houses

Daohuaxiang is a beautiful modern garden-filled plant. In the plant, trees create shade, colorful flowers bloom, greenery takes up 48 percent of the whole area, workshops and residential buildings are arranged orderly, and employees work in a peaceful environment.

There are only four yeast-making houses made of mud bricks in the world. The 1960s style houses have loess walls and tile roofs, and have become "a small special zone" in the plant.

Earth houses not only preserve heat and humidity and dispel dampness but also facilitate the multiplication of the microbes (such as enzyme and saccharomyces) needed to enhance the saccharification rate and fermentation of yeast. Making yeast within mud walls is rare in Chinese liquor industry. In the yeast-making workshop of Daohuaxiang, the rarely used "Bao Bao Yeast" is tidily stacked on top of a thick layer of straw in the rooms. The yeast has thin skin, a solid core, a strong fragrance and is rich in amino acids. The distiller's yeast contains a large amount of microbes and amylase, saccharifying enzyme, zymase and other enzymatic substances generated from the metabolism of the microbes. They are catalytic and may accelerate the conversion of the starch in cereals into sugar. Under the action of yeast, sugar reacts and generates ethanol, i.e. alcohol. Hundreds of aromatic components may be generated during fermentation, creating a distinctive liquor quality and style.

Distinctive green stone slabs

The designers of the brewing workshop meticulously designed each building to look like a giant wine glass. The six glass-shaped workshops have a production capacity of 10,000 tons of base.

Each brewing workshop is paved with uniform green stone slabs, also known as shale. The design is rarely seen in the Chinese liquor industry. The green stone slabs are from Wulongbao. Within a radius of a few hundred kilometers from the plant, Wulongbao is the only place that produces this kind of shale. Shale has experienced millions of years' geological evolution. It records the mystery of the universe like an encyclopedia, and witnessed five thousand years' of Chinese civilization.

The stone slabs vary in size and thickness. Some are as thin as a piece of paper and some are as thick as sleepers. The people living in mountains build walls with them and pave them on the roof, making their homes simple, natural and distinctive. Local people also use shale to cover water vats and granaries, pave the ground, and lay 'hundred-step ladders' on slopes. Houses built with stone slabs are warm in winter and cool in summer.

The shale-paved grounds also have special functions. The green stone slabs are not as smooth as porcelain tiles, are harder than grey or red bricks and will not cause changes in the microbes like cement ground does. It also prevents impurities caused by ground vibration and tool friction. Moreover, shale is durable.

Millennial cellar mud

Mud is the essence of life and the source of growth of everything. Cellar mud is the "lifeblood" of brewing. The quality of cellar mud has a direct impact on the yield and quality of base. There is a saying in the industry: "thousand years' mud, and ten thousand years' vinasse". It summarizes the importance of cellar mud.

Daohuaxiang's cellars are all made of clay. The four sides and bottom are covered with 20cm thick cellar mud. They are the core "equipment" of brewing. Every batch of raw material needs to be intensively fermented for 70 to 140 days. Day by day and year after year, they become the hotbeds for brewing good liquor.

In the initial setting-up period, Daohuaxiang bought 100,000 yuan worth of mud at a price of 100 yuan/kg. The company spent millions of yuan in cellars. Now the cellar mud has become the greatest wealth of Daohuaxiang and assures the quality of the brand because the cellars have evolved with unique flora that produce special microbes that contribute to the liquor's mellow taste.

Five cereals brew good liquor

Liquor production requires a unique process. If the raw material is different, the process and quality of the liquor is affected. Most liquor producers use one or two kinds of grain as the raw material. This brewing process is simple and has a short fermentation cycle. In comparison, Daohuaxiang has always brewed liquor from multiple kinds of grain.

Daohuaxiang Liquor is finely brewed from five kinds of high-quality grain, including red sorghum, corn, glutinous rice, rice and wheat. Daohuaxiang liquors draw on the best features of each grain to create a unique taste. All the grain selected by Daohuaxiang has large, even and full kernels, which enter the brewing step only after they pass a screening step. For example, the shells and thin skin of sorghum must be removed by a shelling machine at first because the thin skin contains tannin, which may generate a bitter taste, thus affecting the taste of liquor.

Among the five cereals, the liquor brewed from sorghum has a strong fragrance, that from rice is cool and clean, that from glutinous rice is mellow, that from wheat has a strong taste, and that from corn is sweet and soft. Through microbial fermentation and biochemical reactions, the cereals bring a wide range of aromatic components, flavors and characteristics.

Combined with a scientific formula, Daohuaxiang uses a unique style unparallel to liquors brewed from a single kind of grain.

Technology

Technology is the key to liquor quality. Daohuaxiang innovatively uses traditional Chinese fermentation technology in its distinctive brewing process. Daohuaxiang puts the health of consumers as top priority and selects raw materials strictly. The company would rather pay a higher price in order to get top-grade cereals and never use overdue grain to ensure high grade liquor.

Typically, after a liquor company buys grain and puts it into warehouse, it will directly weigh the grain and put it into production. The grain at Daohuaxiang Liquor must undergo technical treatment and be mechanically shelled before entering the production line to ensure product quality.

The brewing adopts a series of technologies, such as removing vinasse by layer, distilling by layer, extracting liquor by quality and merging jars by grade.. The production and fermentation cycle of Daqu liquor is generally 40 to 70. During the process, as the fermented grains in the upper, middle and lower layers have different temperature, water content, acidity and contact condition with cellar mud and yellow water, the liquors distilled from different layers have different qualities. In order to differentiate liquors with different qualities, jars are separated and stored according to quality.

Aged liquor stored in cellars

In the underground storeroom, there are nearly 10,000 one-ton porcelain jars. They store bases made from different years. The openings of the jars are covered with red silk. Each jar has a tag indicating date of production, volume and alcohol content. Cellars regulate temperature and humidity and the liquor in pottery jars absorb the "essence of the earth" of the semi-underground storeroom. The liquor gradually becomes more fragrant and tasteful. After being stored underground for years, the mature raw liquor meets the physical and chemical requirements and is transported to the plant on the bank of the Bolin River. It is then put into 16 stainless steel blending tanks of 300-800 tons in the open air and bottled. The large tanks and jars may store 20,000 tons of high-quality base and become the bases of "aged liquor".

The "6-year aged liquor" and "10-year aged liquor" sold by Daohuaxiang in the market are authentic and worth every penny.