In China they say: “You can’t set the table without alcohol.” Which means that there is almost no meal without Baijiu. Traditionally, “white alcohol” is served as an accompaniment to meals, pure and at room temperature in thimble-sized shot glasses, and is now one of the most drunk spirits in the world: an estimated 13 billion litres are consumed annually. (Vodka, in second place, comes in at just half that amount.) The word “worldwide” makes little sense, since the quantity is drunk almost exclusively in China. The world does not know Baijiu. This is supposed to change now – at least if the Gui Niang Group has its way, which wants to bring the “cult drink” to a new level and thus on par with world-famous international brands of spirits.
For the first Experience Store, the Stuttgart-based Ippolito Fleitz Group therefore designed a store in Shanghai, where the traditions of Baijiu and the brand values of Gui Niang are skilfully combined with a carefully curated customer journey and modern lifestyle. The extraordinary care that the company invests in its manufacturing processes was directly translated by the creative minds into the world of materials: the 120 square metre room appears to be manufactured with extreme precision and high quality – from the marble floor to the brass-coloured wall panelling made of round rods and brass-coloured product displays on royal blue walls to the elaborate lamella ceiling, which is reminiscent of the overlapping silhouettes of the Guizhou mountains, where the product originates. A warm light is also intended to reflect the colours of nature in the Guizhou province in southwest China and guide customers gently through the store.
The elaborate production process, the valuable ingredients, the high product quality and the exclusive production quantities are thus repeatedly encountered by shop visitors as central (brand) values. The Experience Store has a dense, elegant and luxurious atmosphere, but at the same time it also creates space for privacy: the customers should be able to enjoy the high-quality products without being disturbed and forget the world around them, in order to immerse themselves completely in the cosmos of Baijiu.
No matter whether they are in the open entrance area with traditional jugs and historical references, at the tasting bar or in front of the shelf wall with hero products: The guests should get to know and “experience” the entire range of high-quality Gui Niang products, right down to the valuable individual bottlings. In this way, Gui Niang presents itself as a brand of international standard – just like “a sophisticated friend with whom one would also like to have a drink”.