Sanyou – Tasmanian Baijiu – The first traditional baijiu distillery of its kind outside of China

The World’s Bestselling Liquor You Never Heard of Makes it’s Mark in Tasmania

Sanyou – Tasmanian Baijiu – The first traditional baijiu distillery of its kind outside of China

Sanyou translates to “Three Friends” from the Chinese language and is the name chosen by three Tasmanian mates — Ian Sypkes, Tim Ye and Chris de Bono — to christen their bold new brand of baijiu inspired by their friendship formed around this Chinese Spirit.

For the first time, China’s national spirit has been crafted and clay-pot aged completely outside the land of the Red Dragon using traditional solid-state methods that honour the ancient tradition.

Baijiu means “white spirit“ and is a clear liquid with high alcohol content, unlike any drink you have had before. Even though it is the world’s most-consumed spirit, it is almost unknown outside of China. The Chinese enjoy baijiu on special occasions or to show hospitality, and to cement friendships or toast business relationships.

“We see our baijiu as a connection between Australia and China,” said co-founder Ian Sypkes, who was a civil engineer in his previous life. “Through our Tasmanian made baijiu we would like to create the opportunity for Australians to honour the Chinese culture by giving Sanyou as a gift when travelling to China, as well as enjoying it here at home.”

Co-founder Tim Ye is an expert on Chinese culture and tradition having spent over half his life living in China. “The ritual of baijiu – how it is bought, given, shared and consumed – is important. The idea of bonds and comradery is key.”

The physical environment where the spirit is cultivated is an essential element of baijiu, which tastes like a shot of nature. Sanyou is made in Tasmania with all Australian ingredients, the principal grain being red sorghum, together with wheat and pure Tasmanian water.

Chris de Bono, the third partner, is a fermentation specialist with a deep knowledge of Asian ferments and methods. “There are more variations of baijiu than there are of even whiskey and scotch. Baijiu has distinct aromas depending upon the grains and water of the region where it is born and the clay pot it is aged in. Our distillation method is traditional Chinese. Our ingredients are 100 per cent Australian.”

About Sanyou

Sanyou is the shared dream of three friends that started as a challenge, then through years of refinement evolved into a science and art, which ripened into reality. Built on a foundation of close relationships and Chinese traditions honoured in Tasmania, Sanyou is a distinct handcrafted brand of baijiu that celebrates the very best of both worlds.


Ian Sypkes
0408 353 339