Kweichow Moutai, maker of the fiery Maotai drink served at Chinese state banquets, draws water for the brew from the Chishui River in southwest Guizhou province.
But authorities are investigating how 39 illegal alcoholic drinks plants have sprung up by the river, polluting both the air and water, Xinhua said.
"It seriously threatens the environmental security of the Chishui River and the production base of Maotai," it added.
The illegal factories have been fined and ordered to close, the report said.
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