An amusement park worker who tried to ride the wave of popularity surrounding liquor-infused coffee in China by pretending to add alcohol to a swimming attraction to create a “Moutai pool” has landed himself in hot water.
The “liquor-infused latte” craze has swept the mainland thanks to a collaboration between the mainland brands Luckin Coffee and Kweichow Moutai.
The corporate coming together saw milky coffee blended with Moutai liquor, a traditional and luxurious Chinese spirit which contains approximately 50 per cent alcohol and costs as much as 2,500 yuan (US$340) for a half-litre bottle.
The special coffee was an overnight sensation on mainland social media and more than 5.42 million cups of the stuff were sold on its launch day of September 4.
This not only generated launch-day sales revenues of more than 100 million yuan (US$14 million), but also a host of people who saw a chance to piggyback on its success.
In a video that is trending online, an employee from a hot spring amusement park in the Xixian New Area of Shaanxi province in central China, can be seen pouring what appears to be a bottle of Moutai liquor into a swimming pool, to create what he called a “liquor-tinged wave pool”.
The video quickly sparked an online discussion, with some people speculating that if the liquor used was fake, it could be construed as false advertising, and if it was real, a trademark infringement.
Previously, a separate company in the coastal province of Jiangsu, north of Shanghai, created “Moutai Coffee” without obtaining proper authorisation and were fined 70,000 yuan (US$9,600) as a result, according to a report by the Guancha Syndicate.
On September 6, an employee from the hot spring park involved confirmed to Jimu News that the bottle the employee was pretending to pour liquor from had been empty from the start.
“He was just making fun, trying to ride the trend. The bottle was empty and nothing was poured into the pool.” said the member of staff.
Nevertheless, the incident prompted investigations by the park and the local authorities.
A representative from the Gaozhuang Market Supervision and Administration told CNR News: “In response to an incident at the scenic spot, we are currently conducting an investigation according to the directives from higher authorities.”
The incident has also triggered debate online.
One person said: “Regardless of whether it’s fake or not, people should be held accountable for wasting food or drink.”
“They might want to hop on any trend, but this is taking things too far!” said another.