How to spot a fake Moutai (updated 2023 guide)
Guide on how to spot fake Moutai Baijiu
Moutai, most definitely the top of mind brand when mentioning the Chinese Baijiu. This premium spirit is not only one of the world's most popular spirits, it is also one of the spirits that have the most counterfeits.
In 2022, Kweichow Moutai's sales revenue exceeded 100 Billion Chinese Yuan (roughly 20 billion SGD). The core Kweichow Feitian Moutai costs roughly S$600-S$780 per bottle, depending on the season and availability. With such a huge market coupled with high bottle prices, it is no wonder that there is a huge counterfeit market!
This guide will go through some of the tricks used by counterfeiters and scammers and teach you how to spot a fake bottle of Moutai. Do note that these counterfeit tactics are constantly evolving so its best to seek the advice of an expert before making the purchase; also, remember the age old adage of "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Common types of fake Moutai
There are varying degrees of counterfeit Moutai in the market ranging from outright obvious ones to ones that even experts find difficult to differentiate.
The more obvious fakes can be spotted easily, with poor quality printing, misprints or colors that are different from the authentic Moutai. These fakes are made with replica bottles and filled with cheap, low quality Baijiu inside, this level of fakes can usually be sifted out by comparing the fake with photos of authentic ones. Here are two photos of an authentic 2022 bottle of Feitian Kweichou Moutai Baijiu:
However for high-end fakes, these counterfeiters know what they are doing and they will use careful processes to refill genuine bottles making it hard to discern just by looking at the bottle. These high-end counterfeits may also use a portion of authentic Moutai mixed with other Baijius, making it difficult to tell apart for the less experienced taster. These high-end fakes when done well can only be discerned from its taste, what you think is a thousand dollar bottle of Baijiu may actually only contain ingredients worth several tens of dollars. In such cases, the best way to tell apart a fake is by consulting someone experienced.
How to spot a fake Moutai
Have you just purchased a bottle of Moutai? Here are some guidelines and checks that you can do to ensure that your bottle is genuine! Do note that just because the bottles are genuine, does not mean that the contents are so these tips will only help you spot imitation bottles, read on to find out how and where to buy Moutai to avoid fakes.
Over the years, Moutai themselves are aware of the huge counterfeiting industry targeting their products and have taken extensive methods to add in little details and subtle differences on their bottles and packaging to tell it apart from imitation bottles. We will be using the iconic Moutai Flying Fairy as an example:
What comes in the box
The Flying Fairy Kweichow Moutai comes with two additional items in the box, a gift box with two Moutai shot cups inside (left) and a booklet with the history and background of Moutai (right) as shown in the image above. If either of these items are missing, that should definitely raise some red flags.
The above is how the authentic Moutai shot cups are supposed to look like inside the gift box— they should have sharp edges and corners with the imprinted logo and letters being high quality and clearly visible. If the conditions of these items are damaged or seem tampered with, that may also be a sign of a repackaged bottle, beware!
Unique design patterns
.An authentic bottle will have a unique embossing at the bottom of the bottle with the words "Produce of Kweichow Moutai Co., Ltd." as seen in the photo above. The embossed number is the code of the workshop that produced this particular bottle.
This photo from liquortown.com.au shows how the inside of the red cap is supposed to look like on an authentic bottle, with the printed text "Dragon Lion" followed by a number. The outlines of the circumference has patterns with perfect alignment.
Before unsealing the bottle, do note that there should be three lines of details on the seal. The top line is the date of when the bottle was produced and left the factory, the middle line is the date when the bottle was blended and the last line is the batch code of that particular bottle. The bottle we used in this example was a 2022 bottling of the Moutai Flying Fairy.
The bottlings change their subtle design differences yearly in a bid by Moutai to keep counterfeiters on their toes by introducing new anti-counterfeit measures to help tell apart real bottles from fakes so the best way to tell is to compare the particular vintage you bought with another bottle of the same year.
How to avoid buying fake Moutai
Now comes the second most important part (prevention is better than finding out that you've just got cheated), how to avoid getting scammed and purchasing counterfeit goods. The cost of a bottle of authentic Moutai can span from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, with such an expensive purchase, the last thing you'd want is receiving a counterfeit bottle.
With the constantly evolving tricks used by scammers, there is no foolproof way of spotting fakes easily. However, these are the few tips we have to avoid buying yourself a fake:
Avoid shady sellers
This may seem so obvious that you will probably be rolling your eyes when reading this point. However, many fall prey to sellers with little to no reviews just because they offer below market prices and 'sound convincing'.
The best way to avoid getting scammed by these shady sellers are by purchasing from channels that are authorized sellers and/or reputable liquor stores. These stores get their goods from official channels and they chances of purchasing fakes from them are next to none. In the case that you somehow unluckily do purchase a counterfeit from these channels, you will definitely receive some sort of reimbursement from these shops as they have a reputation to maintain.
If the price is too good to be true, stay away
If the price offered is way lower than the market prices, this should set your alarms blaring and you should stay away from these sellers. However, this method is not entirely foolproof as many sellers of imitation Moutai price the product near the authentic bottles to avoid suspicion— and you'd be paying a heavier price for this mistake!
Be wary of online auctions and classified ads
If you are buying the bottle from a platform where it's difficult for you to track the buyer, it will be easy for sellers of fake goods to create disposable accounts to sell the counterfeits to you and then delete their accounts off the platform.
If you order from an individual that refuses to show proof of authenticity or verify his sources, it is a good idea to steer clear even if they offer attractive prices.
Where can I buy authentic Moutai?
The most important part of this is the question of: "Where can I buy an authentic bottle of Moutai?"
In order to avoid the myriad of scams and cheats that exists everywhere, you should shop at channels that deal with the official distributors in order to make sure that your next purchase of Moutai is not an imitation.
The last thing you'd want is to purchase a pricey bottle of Moutai for your client as a gift and have it be a fake. With Three Musketeers Liquor, you can be sure that the Moutai you purchase from us are authentic and sourced from Moutai's official distributors in Singapore.
We have a wide range of Moutai products available like the iconic Kweichow Flying Fairy, 15 Years, 30 years & other limited edition Moutai products, you will definitely find what you need with us.