Maotai - can you get it in the West?

A friend just got back recently from China. While he was there, he had the opportunity to try some maotai, and was intrigued by it enough to want to bring some home. According to him (I’m probably relating this story incorrectly), he says he attempted to purchase some, and was asked where he was taking it. When he gave “the US” as an answer, he was refused the sale.

So what might have been the reason he couldn’t bring it back to America with him? And, is there a legal way to get some in this country? A Google search for “maotai” doesn’t even bring up the expected sidebar ads for online sources…that in itself is telling.

I got a lot more hits spelling it “Muotai” (seems like that’s the brand name of the most popular brand of Maotai), but sure didn’t see anybody selling it online in the US.

I take it you meant “moutai”…that did come up with a different set of results. Actually a little less in Google, but roughly the same. One of them was a place in Australia that specializes in rare wines and such. One could get the $100 bottle (a not totally unreasonable price as far as I can tell) shipped to the US for an additional $200. That seems like a bad deal. :wink: Actually, it doesn’t matter, since they won’t ship liquors overseas.

But it was almost a hit…

Oooh, that’s some serious liquor. My grandparents brought some back from China years ago (I guess they snuck it in!).

I dunno about the U.S. (a quick search at Sam’s and Binny’s didn’t turn up anything), but it looks like the British Columbia liquor stores carry it.

I always thought that Maotai was an upshelf version of Bai jiu, a liquor distilled from sorghum. I do remember doing a lot of “gan bei” (dry glass) with my Chinese colleagues. Everyone needed to take a shot at outdrinking the lao wei. Sometimes I had to face two or three serially. The Maotai wasn’t bad, but some of the Bai Jiu was like poison.

you certainly can get moutai in the US; I was served some in a Chinese restaurant’s bar while i waited to pick up some food. Probably not something your local liquor store would normally stock, but they might be able to order some for you. Alternatively, try a Chinese restaurant like I did, and ask at the bar.

I haven’t seen it in the US, but–as it happens–I’m in GuangZhou right now doing adoption paperwork. We’re returning next week (Aug 8, 2007). I could pick up a bottle for you if you like. :slight_smile:
That’s a joke, unless you live in Denver. I wouldn’t ship high-proof stuff to anyone I don’t know.