besides warmth and moisture, old cellars (laojiao) and grains are also important elements in determining the quality of baijiu. since 1573 a.d. (the wanli period of ming dynasty), the precious 1573 national cellars have been producing baijiu without interruption for more than four hundred and forty years and are the most ancient, most well preserved and most long used ones up till now in china. it is also acclaimed as the only “living cultural relics” in parallel with dujiang- yan, an irrigation system built in two thousand years ago and still working.
in 1996, the state council announced the cellars as one of the national key historical and cultural protection units, and it has been therefore called the “national cellar”.
in 2006, luzhou laojiao was included by the chinese govern- ment into the “tentative list of candidates for world heritage sites.” in 2013, luzhou laojiao’s 1619 old cellars of more than one hundred years’ history, the 16 ancient baijiu workshops and the three major baijiu preservation caves, including chunyang cave, longquan cave and zuiweng cave, were also announced to be the national key historical and cultural protection units. no matter in terms of the hardware, the scale, the techniques or history, luzhou laojiao is no doubt one of the leading brands.
seal the mud
cover of cellar
bottom of cellar
wall of cellar
after a fermentation period, a quarter of vinasse will take out from the pit cap and replenish fresh sorghum in, allowing fresh sorghum and vinasse to cycle and multiply more and complex microbes. as the time goes on, the aroma of the baijiu will becomes stronger.
the mud cellar is the living environment for microbes. the beneficial elements and nutrients in vinasse can nourish a large number of microbes during the fermentation period. the older the pit is, the more microbes multiply, and the more fragrant the baijiu is.
according to the research of the food fermentation institute of chinese academy of sciences, luzhou laojiao’s pits have been brewing baijiu for hundreds of years, and created a favorable ecosystem with various microbial species in a high quantity. it’s a good model for the baijiu- brewing process in china.