Maotai, China\'s national liquor served at official occasions and state banquets, saw its output reach 24,000 tonnes in the first half of 2012, up 15.3 percent year-on-year. The total liquor output of the Kweichow Maotai Group stood at 42,000 tonnes, as the group also produces other kinds of spirits, Yuan Renguo, group chairman, said on Monday in the southwestern province of Guizhou, where the distillery is located. The group\'s pre-tax sales revenue reached 17.8 billion yuan (2.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six months, up 38 percent from a year ago, according to Yuan. Maotai, distilled in the town of Maotai in Guizhou, has been considered the country\'s top liquor brand as well as a status symbol for decades. The small town is believed to possess a unique climate and vegetation that contributes to the taste of the drink. Yuan said that output of the Maotai liquor is scheduled to top 33,000 tonnes for the whole year and the group\'s goal for this year\'s sales revenue is set at 35 billion yuan. The chairman added the company has increased efforts to promote online sales. Meanwhile, a new project, which will raise the Maotai liquor\'s annual capacity by 2,500 tonnes, is expected to start operation next month.