Moutai “Baijiu academician” incident

February 21 is the tenth day of the first month of the year of the ox. More than 6 am, the sky has not yet broken, Chishui River flows quietly. There is a layer of mist floating on the river, which adds some mystery to the Maotai Group.

Moutai "Baijiu academician" incident

This is the first day of the official construction of Maotai Group after the Spring Festival. Tens of thousands of employees rush to work in the production workshop one after another. There is an endless stream of vehicles in and out of each gate of Maotai distillery. The slogan standing on the top of the office building of Maotai Group – “love me Maotai, win glory for our country” is particularly eye-catching in the sunshine.


On February 17, Maotai Group’s Guizhou Maotai (600519. SH) announced that Wang Li, chief engineer and chief quality officer of Maotai Group, was shortlisted for the list of additional academicians of the Chinese Academy of engineering. Come in a throng of questions, “Baijiu academician” has become a hot word in the Internet. Wang Li, who has been living behind the scenes, has been pushed to the spotlight.


Inside Maotai, this is still a sensitive topic. In the face of the times weekly reporter’s inquiry, most Maotai front-line employees choose to keep silent, one employee only said, “this is the topic that the leaders of the distillery should consider.”


As one of the nine core management personnel of Maotai Group, Wang Li, 49, has worked in Maotai for 27 years and is the first female chief engineer in the history of Maotai. Starting from an ordinary employee of Maotai Research Institute, Wang Li was gradually promoted to deputy director, director and deputy general manager of Guizhou Maotai technology center, and then to chief engineer and chief quality officer of Maotai Group. Ji Keliang, yuan Renguo, Li Baofang and Gao Weidong were the four leaders of Maotai. They all held important positions when they were in charge of Maotai. They can be called the “elder of four dynasties” of Maotai.


On February 20, several insiders of Maotai Group confirmed to the times weekly that Wang Li was the apprentice of Ji Keliang, the former chairman of Maotai Group and the godfather of Maotai. The mode of “teacher leading apprentice” has always prevailed in Maotai distillery. According to an insider in Maotai, Wang Li was promoted by Ji Keliang, who can be described as Ji Keliang’s “technical successor” in Maotai.


On the same day, a reporter from time weekly asked the relevant person in charge of Maotai Group about whether Ji Keliang and Wang Li were apprentices, but no reply was received as of press release.


Another person close to Maotai said that Ji Keliang and Wang Li had some similarities in their experiences. Both of them came to Maotai from other places to work. “Wang Li is a technical talent and is highly appreciated by Ji Keliang.”.


“Ji Keliang’s apprentices are not many, and many of them are now in high positions in Maotai. Of course, there are also apprentices who left to run their own distilleries. ” The person said.


A few days ago, the staff of Guizhou Association for science and technology responded to the media that the selection was in line with the relevant process of academician addition. “In previous years, Maotai Group also recommended other people, such as Ji Keliang.”. The response of the head of relevant departments of the Chinese Academy of engineering is that at present, Wang Li is still in the stage of recommendation and publicity by the local association for science and technology, and is not an effective candidate for the 2021 academician co election of the Chinese Academy of engineering.


According to the analysis of a person in the industry to the times weekly, when Guizhou Provincial Association for science and technology recommended Wang Li as a candidate for academician, it should have taken into account the factors that Maotai has made great contributions to the economy of Guizhou Province, but did not expect to cause such a big controversy, “it is estimated that this matter is yellow.”.

Moutai "Baijiu academician" incident

In the two trading day after the controversy over “Baijiu academician”, in February 18th and 19th, Guizhou Moutai shares fell 5% and 0.45% respectively. On February 19, Guizhou Maotai closed 2460 yuan per share, with a total market value of 3090.247 billion yuan.


The godfather


Judging from his resume, Ji Keliang and Wang Liyuan have deep roots.


In 1964, Ji Keliang graduated from Wuxi Institute of light industry (now Jiangnan University) majoring in food fermentation, and was selected and assigned to work in Maotai distillery by the Ministry of light industry. In 1983, he became the director of Maotai distillery. Two years later, Ji Keliang decided that he was not suitable for administrative work, so he resigned from the position of factory director and became the first chief engineer in the history of Maotai distillery.


In 1991, Ji Keliang, who has worked in Maotai for 27 years, took up the post of factory director again, and concurrently served as Deputy Secretary of the Party committee and chief engineer of the factory. In 1998, Ji Keliang served as the party secretary, chairman and chief engineer of Maotai Group.


In the third year when Ji Keliang took the helm of Maotai again, in 1994, Wang Li graduated from Northwest Institute of light industry (now Shaanxi University of science and Technology) and entered Maotai. She came to Maotai because of her love and was assigned to the analysis group of Maotai scientific research institute.


Different from the previous “management” factory directors, Ji Keliang is a “technical” factory director. He is the first person to interpret Maotai with scientific theory. He summarized and refined the top 10 unique processes of Maotai liquor with scientific methods, making the quality and output of Maotai liquor consistent after 1995.


Ji Keliang also attaches great importance to training employees’ microbial knowledge. Like Ji Keliang, Wang Li is attracted by the traditional brewing technology of Maotai, and begins to “soak” in the production line. Under the guidance of Maotai liquor teachers, she gradually forms a systematic understanding of the brewing technology, and begins to use modern analysis methods to analyze the traditional brewing technology.


“We have been doing the inheritance of Maotai liquor making skills in various forms. One is that the master leads the apprentice. It’s the most traditional and ancient way, and it’s quite effective. ” Ji Keliang said publicly in 2020, “when I came to Maotai in 1964, I paid more attention to training employees’ microbial knowledge. We made use of night school and summary meeting. Later, we also set up 721 workers’ university to send young employees to colleges and universities, and held training with Guigong and guida for winemakers and team leaders to continuously improve employees’ professional knowledge. The purpose of training is to inherit, not only to draw a ladle according to the gourd, but also to understand scientific knowledge, more accurate inheritance. It should be said that good results have been achieved. ”


Wang Li later studied for a master’s degree in Jiangnan University, Ji Keliang’s alma mater. Her research direction was fermentation and light industry biotechnology. The University’s major in wine engineering is well-known in China. Judging from her resume, Wang Li is quite in line with Ji Keliang’s saying that she “understands scientific knowledge” and can achieve “more accurate inheritance”.


The people close to Maotai said that Maotai distillery prevails in the way of “teacher leading apprentice”, and most of the front-line employees in the distillery have masters. Generally speaking, there are two ways to visit a teacher. One is that the master thinks that the employee’s qualification is good, so he will be named as an apprentice. The other is that the employee chooses a master, but he can only visit a teacher with permission. After confirming the relationship between master and apprentice, we need to report to the distillery for registration. Maotai will hold a formal ceremony of master and apprentice every other period of time.


It is not easy to learn from Ji Keliang. The aforementioned people close to Maotai disclosed to the times weekly that in order to learn from Ji Keliang, the apprentices generally need to meet two conditions: one is that the positions should not be too different, generally one to three levels lower than Ji Keliang; the other is that they should be recognized by Ji Keliang. Ji Keliang does not hold a ceremony in public, but a simple ceremony in private, so only a small number of people can know.


Several independent sources disclosed to the times weekly that Liang Mingfeng, the third undergraduate of fermentation engineering in Maotai distillery and the legal representative of Guizhou Maotai Town Guowei liquor industry (Group) Co., Ltd., is also Ji Keliang’s direct disciple; Lu yunhuai, the former deputy general manager of Maotai Group, and WAN Bo, the deputy general manager of Maotai Group, are also Ji Keliang’s apprentices, among whom Wan Bo paid homage later. As of press release, the reporter of time weekly failed to verify the information with the parties concerned, and Maotai Group failed to respond to the relevant information.


At present, among the nine members of the leading group of Maotai Group, six core executives, including Gao Weidong and Li Jingren, are all “parachutists”. Only deputy general managers Yang Daiyong, Wang Li and WAN Bo are “old Maotai people”.


On February 21, an internal employee of Maotai told the times weekly that generally speaking, there are records of apprentices in Maotai distillery, but the specific list will not be released to the public, so it is not clear how many apprentices Ji Keliang has taken. “It’s not an important link, it’s just a routine tradition. There’s no need to publicize the tradition. Just do your own thing well.” The Maotai internal staff said.


Advantages and disadvantages of “teacher leading apprentice”


According to media reports, since 2004, Maotai Group has held Maotai liquor festival in Chongyang Festival every year, and a teacher worship ceremony will also be held at the sacrifice ceremony of Maotai liquor Festival. Seven chief brewers and top-grade brewers from the production line of Maotai liquor respectively accepted toasts from seven apprentices, presented keepsake to them, and performed the ceremony of “beating the head, clearing the head, and improving the quality” The second is to carry the burden bravely and inherit the craft; the third is to demonstrate the body and mind with both virtue and art.


According to the Times reporter, the teacher took the disciples for a long time, which was a traditional way of Chinese Baijiu inheritance and an important way to inherit the famous teachers and masters. In addition to “adding a ruler to one’s body”, the ceremony also requires kneeling and listening to master’s instruction.


A senior liquor industry person in Guizhou Province introduced to the times weekly that “master leading apprentice” is a relatively efficient way in the inheritance of liquor making skills, because it is difficult to achieve complete industrialization and standardization of liquor making skills, and more rely on the way of “master leading apprentice” for effective inheritance. The master of wine making required the apprentice’s character, skill and talent, and strictly carried out the ceremony of teacher worship.


In 2020, the Renhuai Baijiu Association launched the “master teacher with the ingenuity heritage” program, which aims to encourage skilled hands and famous teachers to take the disciples, inherit experience and experience, and better inherit the unique craft of Maotai flavor liquor brewing. The reporter of time weekly learned from the website of Renhuai liquor industry association that LV yunhuai’s apprenticeship ceremony was also held at the 2020 annual meeting of Zunyi (Renhuai) liquor industry expert committee in January 2021.


Teacher worship is also a reconstruction of interpersonal relationship.


The above-mentioned people close to Maotai told the times weekly that wine employees generally choose senior employees who are higher than their own positions as teachers, but sometimes they also need to look at the relationship to succeed. To a certain extent, it is also a way to draw closer relations. After the apprenticeship, “the relationship between the apprentices and the teachers is certainly closer, so it is conducive to the apprentices’ further development” in the Maotai system to a certain extent. “.


The above-mentioned internal staff of Maotai said that the so-called inheritance, the master will naturally focus on taking care of his disciples, but the degree to which the apprentice can be promoted depends on his own efforts. “No matter how much a master can help, he can only go to one threshold. The administrative level and craft level of Maotai distillery are separated. The employees may be craftsmen, but the administrative level may be just ordinary staff.” The Maotai internal staff told the times weekly.


Wang Li is an exception, no matter in Maotai craft level, or administrative level, the promotion speed is extremely fast.


The weekly weekly reporter combed that Wang Li, who was the director of Guizhou Moutai in December 2000, was only 28 years old when he announced the announcement of Moutai in May 2010. Wang Li also won the national Baijiu commentary Committee in Guizhou this year.


In 2010, Wang Li hosted the project of Baijiu food safety inspection capacity-building, and built and improved the ability of pesticide residue detection, heavy metal detection and plasticizer detection. Relying on this platform, Moutai has implemented more than ten important scientific research projects and achieved significant results. Chinese Baijiu liquor was also developed by Wang Li. The first time we studied the Maotai flavor liquor by using the idea of flavor chemistry. The success of the project also directly contributed to the emergence and development of the 169 Baijiu Baijiu liquor program, and made important contributions to the development of science and technology in the industry.


With her technical advantages, Wang Li gradually established her position in Maotai. In the view of many people in the industry, in the brewing industry, the chief engineer has a higher position than the chairman and the general manager, because the chief engineer has mastered all the technologies related to the products, and can even be regarded as the “soul figure” of a liquor enterprise.


“Because quality is life to Maotai, we need to love it like our eyes. If there are quality problems, the foundation of Maotai will soon be shaken! ” In March 2019, Wang Li said in an interview with the media.


After 2010, Wang Li’s promotion speed accelerated. From July 2010 to December 2011, Wang Li served as deputy chief engineer and executive deputy director of technology center of Guizhou Maotai, then gradually rose to deputy chief engineer, chief engineer, director of technology center and director of Quality Department of Guizhou Maotai, and was promoted to deputy general manager of Guizhou Maotai in July 2015.


One month after Wang Li was promoted to deputy general manager, in August 2015, Ji Keliang officially retired and no longer held the posts of director of Maotai Group and director of Guizhou Maotai Group. He only retained the posts of honorary chairman and general technical consultant of Maotai Group. Since August 2018, he no longer held the posts of honorary chairman and general technical consultant of Maotai Group.


Wang Li’s professional ability has been highly recognized by the industry. She is an expert with special allowance from the State Council, and has won the second prize of national technological invention, senior wine critic of national brewing, the first batch of “great craftsman” of light industry in China and other honorary titles. Despite its many awards, Wang Li knew little about the “Baijiu academician” before the storm broke out. The staff in Maotai said that Wang Li works seriously and keeps a low profile. “The internal division of labor in Maotai is very clear. Wang Li is mainly in charge of quality and technology. She is not a sales manager who appears in public every day and is not well known by the outside world, which is normal.”.


“My only advantage is that my senses are sensitive. The most important thing is the education of my predecessors and the cultivation of Maotai family.” Wang Li once said publicly, “the quality of Maotai today is the result of the joint efforts of 36000 employees. No matter the quality management department, the production department or the technical department, they are all working hard to do their own work, and the purpose is to jointly improve the quality of Maotai. I’m just doing my duty in my own post. I don’t have much achievement! “

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