The Most Popular Alcohol In The World Might Surprise You

With the number of liquor stores lining streets across the country, it is hardly surprising that alcohol is big business. Research by Forbes found that online sales for alcohol are booming, reaching $5.6 billion dollars in the U.S. and over $24 billion worldwide in 2020.

How this explosion in the alcohol industry affects consumption is profound. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has found that almost 86% of Americans have indulged in liquor, while worldwide alcohol consumption analyzed by shows that 117 billion gallons of booze are sucked up every year.

Even though the popularity of alcohol is well documented, the most successful type of liquor in the world is relatively unheard of in the U.S. Baijiu is a Chinese concoction, a clear drink with floral fragrances, and a fruity flavor (via Thrillist). China's two biggest distilleries of baijiu, based in Shanghai and Shenzhen, are believed to be worth well in excess of $500 billion (via Forbes).

Baijiu is an ancient Chinese drink, billions of gallons of which are sold each year

According to Thrillist, baijiu is an ancient drink fermented with the crucial ingredient of sorghum, a type of cereal grain. In fact, baijiu has beaten off steep competition to earn the mighty honor of being China's official national drink (via Esquire) and is one of the oldest spirits in the world.

Thrillist also notes that there are four primary flavors of baijiu: light aroma (slightly sweet and a little floral), strong aroma (very fruity, tasting similar to pineapple), sauce aroma (bean paste and soy sauce), and rice aroma (a more basic variety that is mainly produced from rice).

Perhaps it is the immense kick provided by baijiu that makes it so popular. Having an alcohol proof of between 80 and 120 (as reported by Grub Street), the kick is sure to be closer to a whack in the face by a burning fire truck. It's little wonder that Time has recorded an estimation that over 2.8 billion gallons of baijiu were enjoyed in 2017 while Esquire asserted that over 2.6 billion gallons are imbibed every year.