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​Traditional brands adapt to modern consumption

Time:2022-07-25 09:26:47


Time-honored brands often arouse people's memories of history and culture unique to the region of production.

This is true in the North China province of Shanxi, which is home to 69 time-honored brands that include the famed mature vinegar in the provincial capital of Taiyuan and Fenjiu white liquor in the city of Fenyang. Of them, 27 have been recognized by the Ministry of Commerce as national old brands and the remaining 42 recognized as provincial old brands.

Old as they are, however, these brands are evolving. Through constant adaptation and innovation, the time-honored brands of Shanxi are taking on a new lease of life, embracing modern trends of consumption.

One example is the mature vinegar produced in Taiyuan. Local producers' attempts to adapt include integrating their operations with the culture and tourism industry.

Taiyuan is a major production site of mature vinegar in China. It is said that China's vinegar industry originated in Qingxu county in Taiyuan, dating back about 3,000 years.

Shanxi Old Vinegar Group, the producer of the famed Donghu-branded vinegar, is operating an industry-themed tourism facility in Taiyuan.

The facility, Donghu Old Vinegar Garden, was opened in 1998. It was recognized by the then National Tourism Administration as the only tourism brand in the vinegar industry in 2004.

This is a facility combining production, sightseeing and sales, where tourist can catch a glimpse of the centuries-old, traditional vinegar-making techniques.

In the garden's museum are old vinegar-making equipment and documents recording the ancient production techniques.

A variety of the company's current produce is on display in the museum, giving visitors the opportunity to taste the authentic vinegar of Shanxi.

"I thought vinegar should be sour in taste," said a visitor to the garden. "Now, I recognize the richness of the taste of Shanxi's mature vinegar is beyond my expectations."

In addition to old mature vinegar, other time-honored brands in Shanxi are making attempts to adapt to modern times and meet the demands of various consumers at home and abroad.

These attempts include expanding into global markets, presenting new varieties to meet the tastes of international consumers and sales on online platforms, according to Qiao Zhijun, secretary-general of the Shanxi Association of Time-Honored Brands.

Xing Aitian contributed to this story.

Donghu Old Vinegar Garden is a destination where tourists can experience the centuries-old vinegar culture in Shanxi. XING AITIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY