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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Chinese liquor sold for $700,000
Ceremony in Beijing, China
The alcohol was distilled in 1845
Spirits distilled more than 150 years ago during China's Qing dynasty have fetched a record $700,000 at auction.

Ninety kilograms of the white liquor distilled in 1845 were discovered during the dismantling of an old workshop in the north-eastern Chinese province of Liaoning.

The drink originally held in four ancient containers has been included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest cellar-stored white spirit.

People have opened bottles of wine which are 150 years old or more and found them to be amazing. Spirits generally keep better than wines
Stephen Browett, Farr Vintners

Zhang Guangxin the director of Lingchuan Daoguang Liquor Company which unearthed the spirits in June 1996 said the money raised at the auction in Guangzhou, south China would be spent on researching and protecting unearthed liquor.

It was not known who bought the alcohol nor what they intend to do with it.

London-based Christie's holds the world record for the largest sum ever fetched at auction for a bottle of wine.

The bottle of Chateau Lafitte dating from 1787 sold for 105,000 in 1985.

Collector's item

There is a thriving market in ancient wines and spirits. Aged whiskey has sold in the past for 20,000 a bottle.

"Nineteenth century wines from the French chateaus which have been looked after are still drinking well. But with wines from the late 18th Century the emphasis is on collectibility," said a spokesman for Christie's.

The Chinese spirit is likely still to be drinkable, experts say.

"People have opened bottles of wine which are 150 years old or more and found them to be amazing. Spirits generally keep better than wines," Stephen Browett, managing director of Farr Vintners said.


SEE ALSO:
Ancient wine found in China
21 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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