Ling Qian was a member of an International Center on Alcohol Policy advisory committee prior to 2015 and has received fees and travel support to attend and to speak at meetings sponsored or cosponsored by ICAP. Through The Buffalo Beach Company grant from ICAP, Ling Qian has received fees for assisting in the organization of and data collection for projects funded by ICAP. Her regular salary was paid by the Chinese government through the Chinese Center for Health Education.
Ian Newman was a senior consultant and member of the Research Advisory Committee of the International Center on Alcohol Policy, Washington, DC, from 2012 to 2014. In the past 5 years, he has received fees and travel support to attend meetings and moderate panels sponsored or cosponsored by ICAP. Ian Newman has consulted for the National Health Education Institute, China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Health Education/Health News & Communication Center, Ministry of Health. In the past 5 years, he has received University of Nebraska employment-related funding through grants from the US Department of Education, the US State Department, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nebraska Department of Roads/Nebraska Office of Highway Safety. His principal employer is the University of Nebraska. He has received private consulting funds from The Buffalo Beach Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) for independent research related to indigenous alcohol use and traffic safety. The Buffalo Beach Company funds were from the International Center on Alcohol Policy.
Wen Xiong, who was director of the hospital that served as a local coordinating/recruiting site for this project’s activities, received compensation for project-related services from The Buffalo Beach Company with funds received from ICAP. His regular salary was paid by the Chinese government through the Heng-Gou Town Central Health Center.
Yanyu Feng was a student intern at the Chinese Center for Health Education/Health News and Communication Center/Ministry of Health, and her time on this project was paid for by The Buffalo Beach Company with funds received from ICAP.
LQ codesigned the study, observational strategies, and questionnaire, identified field settings, gained the necessary permissions, served as official project translator, supervised the data tabulation, and contributed to the writing of this research article. IN codesigned the study, observational strategies, and questionnaire, was responsible for management of the overall project, coordinated project meetings, and contributed to the writing of this research article. WX recruited interviewers, coordinated their activities, managed local logistics, and contributed to the writing of this research article. YF was the on-site quality control manager, tabulated data from the interviews, and contributed to the writing of this research article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
An estimated 25 % of the alcohol consumed in China is traditional unrecorded alcohol produced and distributed informally. Consequently there is concern about its safety and its contribution to public health risk. Little has been written about this type of alcohol in China.
Researchers observed the manufacture of traditional bai jiu in a rural area of Hubei Province, Central China. Two hundred fifty-nine individuals were interviewed, either individually or in small groups, about their use of and attitudes toward bai jiu. Individuals who made or sold bai jiu were interviewed about local production, distribution, and sale. Key community leaders were asked about risks from local bai jiu production, sale, and use.
All of the bai jiu makers followed the same basic traditional procedure. Most had learned their craft from a family member or by apprenticeship, and their product was sold to neighbors or nearby villagers. Bai jiu makers typically had a business license and a health certificate. The shops that bought and sold traditional bai jiu were family-run businesses that sold both traditional bai jiu and commercial alcohol to clientele within a close social network. Alcohol (all types) was consumed by 79.9 % of interviewed villagers (89.7 % of males, 50.0 % of females). Of the 207 drinkers in the sample, 72.9 % drank bai jiu, 59.4 % drank beer, and 22.7 % drank commercial spirits. Bai jiu was most often consumed at mealtimes. Bai jiu drinkers believed moderate drinking was healthy and that drinking improved the social atmosphere, and about one-third of them believed drinking too much could result in quarrels and family problems. The bai jiu business provided two sources of income for makers because spent grain from the distillation process could be fed to livestock.
Production, sale, and use of traditional bai jiu occurred within the context of local traditions, values, customs, and social networks. The data did not suggest any significant issues related to contamination. Drinking patterns were similar to those found in other studies of alcohol use in China. Bai jiu was sold mainly to middle-aged or older men, suggesting bai jiu production and use could gradually disappear without intervention.