Wuliangye Group Co., Ltd (the Company) is a mega-size state-owned enterprise (SOE) group with Baijiu as its primary business. The Company is also engaged in the fields of smart manufacturing, food packaging, modern logistics, financial investment, health and wellbeing.
The signature product—Wuliangye—has a long history and profound culture. Wuliangye represents China’s strong aromatic Baijiu and has been accredited as National Famous Liquor. Wuliangye is enlisted into the first batch of products protected under the landmark China-EU Agreement on Geographical Indications Agreement. Sales of the Company in 2019 exceeded 100 billion CNY. Market capitalization of the Company in 2020 exceeded one trillion CNY. In 2022, the Company is on the list of “Brand Finance Global 500 2022” “Brand Finance Spirits 50 2022” and “China’s 500 Most Valuable Brands”.
Sound eco-environment. The Company headquarters at the City of Yibin, a region with 4000 years’ history of liquor production and one of the world’s ten spirit production areas. The City of Yibin is renowned as the “first city along the reaches of the Yangtze River” and “the capital of Chinese Liquor”. Endowed with sound eco-environment, Yibin is situated at the confluence of three major rivers with mild winter and summer. Yibin is free of frost and snow with sufficient precipitation, an average annual temperature of 17.9oC and rich bio-diversity, and is a perfect environment for the microorganism used for Baijiu-making to live and reproduce. The area has been accredited by UNESCO and UNFAO as “the most suitable area for the production of high-quality pure distilled liquor in the same latitude on earth”.
Renowned history and tradition. Wuliangye Baijiu is the company’s signature product that is made from five grains of sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, wheat, and corn with ancient craft and recipes. Wuliangye is the earliest spirit in the world produced with five grains. The multi-grain solid fermentation process has been passed down for a thousand years, dating back to Zhongbijiu (Zhongbi liquor)produced with multiple grains in the prime Tang Dynasty. In the year 765, the great poet Du Fu passed by the City of Yibin. Yang Shijun, the then Governor of Rongzhou Prefecture, received him and treated him with Zhongbijiu (Zhongbi liquor) at the East Pavilion. Du Fu spoke highly of the liquor and wrote a poem—Banquet with Rongzhou Prefect Yang Shijun at East Pavilion. In the poem, he writes: “Dining at Eastern Tower with Prefect Yang of Rongzhou Prefecture; What I, an old man, come across knock me off my feet. I’m beyond myself in getting ecstatic. Geishas cozy up to guests in the seats. Entertainment is directed by the host as he will. Spring brew I pick up is darkish green. Lychees I break open are light red. At this high tower, sadness threatens to creep in. Music of flutes continues to play on.” In 782, Emperor Dezong of the Tang Dynasty issued an imperial edict and announced Zhongbijiu as official customized liquor (liquor of the prefecture).
In the North Song Dynasty, Yao Junyu, a gentlemen of great renown in the City of Yibin, building on the formula of Zhongbijiu, made Yaozixuequ after numerous trials. Yaozixuequ was made of five grains including rice, sorghum, glutinous rice, buckwheat and millet with water of Anlequan (Anle Spring). In 1098, famous literati Huang Tingjian of the North Song Dynasty took the position of Vice-prefect of Fuzhou and lived in Rongzhou (City of Yibin). He befriended many local men of literary reputation and liked to join them for a taste of liquor. He wrote a poem—Ode to Anlequan—to praise Yaozixuequ. In the poem, he writes: “Crystal-clear Yaozixuequ competes with the beauty of jade. Her vapor is as exquisite as clouds in the valley. Utterly pure and clear as she tastes, she still brings on profound layers of mellowness. Gracefully sweet and spicy as she tastes, she is free of greasiness and pungency. A shot of Wuliangye is a cure to gout in my arm. I am an old man and with my blurred vision, I write this poem.”
In the early Ming Dynasty, Chen’s Family founded Wendefeng Distillery and combined the essence of Yaozixuequ and replaced millet with newly imported corn from overseas for a new combination of five grains. A refined Chen’s secret recipe was hence created.
In the late Qing Dynasty, Deng Zijun inherited Wendefeng Distillery and changed its name as Lichuanyong.In 1909, Deng Zijun attended a banquet of local celebrities with the liquor. Yang Huiquan, a scholar in the late Qing Dynasty, tasted and appraised the liquor to be superb. Yang Huiquan suggested that the name of Zaliangjiu seemed to be vulgar, and although the name of Yaozixuequ was elegant enough, it was still a step away from fully reflecting the flavor of the liquor. Since the liquor was produced with essence of five grain, he suggested the change of name to Wuliangye. His suggestion was warmly applauded by people present at the banquet. Deng Zixin willingly accepted and Wuliangye was thus officially named.
In 1952, eight distilleries which was the most famous traditional ones in Yibin including Changfasheng, Lichuanyong, Liudingxing, Tiancifu, Zhangwanhe, Quanhengchang, Tingyuelou and Zhongsanhe merged. In 1954, Deng Zijun contributed Chen’s secret recipe and took the role as technical supervisor. The joint venture was renamed Wuliangye Distillery in 1959.
In 1963, Wuliangye attended the national liquor appraisal conference for the first time. At this conference, liquors of different aromas were mixed, coded, appraised and rated (blind tasting). The conference is believed to be China’s first real liquor appraisal conference as it was held at the national level, covered a wide variety of liquor, engaged a large area and adopted higher standards than ever before.
Experts at the conference appraised Wuliangye as “long-lasting aroma, mellow taste, well-balanced sweet in the mouth, refreshing in the throat, harmonious and just-right flavors”. This appraisal was highly consistent with Huang Tingjian’s assessment of Yaozixuequ 900 years ago, thus making Wuliangye a much-told story in the liquor industry.
Wuliangye stood out and won the first prize among many varieties of Baijiu and was accredited by the then Ministry of Light Industry as National Famous Liquor. Wuliangye was named as “Time-honored Eight Famous Liquor” together with Gujinggongjiu, Luzhoulaojiao Tequ, Quanxingdaqu, Maotai, Xifengjiu, Fenjiu and Dongjiu. In the next three consecutive national liquor appraisal conferences, Wuliangye, with its high top-ranking quality, won the golden award for national quality and famous Baijiu.
In 1978, Hua Luogeng, famous mathematician and former Director of the Institute of Mathematics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences guided the Company in a series of experiments using the methodologies of optimization and overall planning. After successfully producing low-alcohol Wuliangye, Hua Luogeng wrote a poem in memory of the breakthrough: “Wuliangye tastes even purer after optimization. Wuliangye increases output by 50% while using only half the raw materials. Li Bai and Tao Yuanming, two great poets and lovers of Baijiu, have not the chance the taste the best Wuliangye as they were born too early.”
1972年, 白酒勾调鼻祖与创始人、五粮液酒厂总技师范玉平针对不同产品风格特点，以酒调酒，独创“缓冲、烘托、平衡”的“范氏勾调技术”，得到国家商业部、轻工部高度重视，被行业广泛借鉴、全面应用；1989年,公司与中科院共同研发计算机勾调专家系统,实现了计算机数据化与人工感官化的有机结合,大幅提升了勾调效率和产品质量, 荣获国家商业部重大科技成果二等奖，被业界誉为“勾调双绝”。
In 1972, Fan Yuping, founder of Baijiu blending and Chief Technician of Wuliangye Distillery, created Fan’s blending technology based on his analysis of the features of different products. Fan’s blending technology makes the best of its advantages and avoids it shortcomings for the greatest balance of tastes. Fan’s creation was greatly recognized by the then Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Light Industry and was widely utilized by the industry as a reference. In 1989, the Company cooperated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to develop the computer-aided blending expert system, a synergy of computer-aided digitization and human senses. Blending efficiency and product quality were greatly upgraded, thus winning National Award for Major Science and Technology granted by the Ministry of Commerce. Wuliangye has been renowned in the industry for its superb blending and mixture.
从上世纪 60 年代起的数十年间，历经五次大规模扩建，五粮液形成了气势恢宏的“十里酒城”。1995年，五粮液、长虹、一汽等企业因销售总额、利税总额两项指标均居全国同行业第一，分别被国家统计局、第50届国际统计大会中国组委会、中国技术进步评价中心联合授予“中国酒业大王”、“中国彩电大王”、“中国汽车大王”称号；1998年，五粮液酒厂改制为五粮液集团公司和五粮液股份公司；同年，股份公司在深圳证券交易所挂牌上市；2020年，股份公司被国家农业农村部、发改委等八部委评定为农业产业化国家重点龙头企业。
During the decade starting from the 1960s, Wuliangye built up “a liquor city that stretches kilometers” after five large-scale expansion. In 1995, two major indicators, sales revenue and taxation of profits, of Wuliangye, Changhong, FAW, ranked No. One in their respective fields. Wuliangye, Changhong, and FAW were thus accredited by National Statistics Bureau,the 50th Chinese Organizing Committee of International Statistics Conference and China Assessment Center as “Top Baijiu in China”, “Top Color TV in China” and “Top Automobile in China”. In 1998, Wuliangye Distillery was reformed into Wuliangye Group Co., Ltd and Wuliangye Yibin Co., Ltd. In the same year, Wuliangye Yibin Co., Ltd was listed at Shenzhen Stock Exchange. In 2020, Wuliangye Yibin Co., Ltd was accredited by eight ministries and commissions including Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China and National Development and Reform Commission as national flagship enterprise in agricultural industrialization.
Wuliangye Group has two A-share listed companies (000858 Wuliangye Yibin and 600793 Yibin Paper Industry).The Company has an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of Baijiu using solid fermentation technology for the process and pure grain as raw materials and an annual storage capacity of one million tons of raw liquor. The annual production capacity of the largest Baijiu distillery registers at 40,000 tons. The planned size of the industry park is 18 km2. The Company is accredited as a National AAAA-rated Scenery.
Processing techniques. The Company has honored and safeguarded the title of “China’s Time-honored Brand”. During production, Wuliangye follows the science of systematic engineering and the philosophical doctrines of five elements. Traditional processing techniques including the Taoist doctrine, inheritance of fine tradition and craftsmanship have been observed. Time-honored principles of selecting the best raw materials, perfect timing, delicate techniques and methodologies have been followed. Modern production philosophy featuring quality, high-yield, low energy consumption, balance and safety has been followed. With all that, the five-character secrets, namely, seeding, Baijiu-making, selection, aging, and blending were created, boosting synergy within the Baijiu and the also its prebiotic effect.
Seeding. Grains are the essence of Baijiu. Baijiu-making is the cornerstone of high-quality liquor. Selection of seeds holds the key to the quality. Grain production is one of the vital links of high-quality liquor producing. Wuliangye, situated at the golden liquor producing belt of 30° north latitude, carefully selects five grains and blends the aroma of the five grains into perfect flavor—sorghum for the sweet and pure fragrance, rice for the aromatic mellowness, glutinous rice for the pure and sweet profoundness, wheat for the long-lasting balminess of the yeast and corn for the dispersive sweet base note. To ensure the highest quality of the source grains, Wuliangye builds up a nationwide production base of Baijiu-making grains with an area of with millions of square kilometers. The base has its core zone in Yibin City and also its main area in the wider Sichuan Province. Major quality production zones in China are also integrated into the base. Via standardized, precision and smart management of all links including cultivation, seeding, harvesting, storage, transport and delivery, source grain quality has been upgraded. As such, 100% full-process traceability from “a seed to a drop of Baiiu” is guaranteed, which ensures uninterrupted production of high-quality Baijiu to satisfy our consumers’ pursuit of a better life.
Baijiu-making. Millennium fermentation pits and 10,000-year-old fermented grains make the best Baijiu. Strong aroma Baijiu is a core resource that endows unreplicable advantages to the Company. The Company also boasts a large number of fermentation pits that have been utilized uninterruptedly. Wuliangye’s time-honored fermentation pit cluster built in 1368 (first year of Hongwu Reign of the early Ming Dynasty) is still in use for producing Baijiu uninterruptedly for 655 years. The cluster is enlisted as Important Heritage Site under State Protection. Wuliangye’s fermentation pit cluster and distilleries have been listed as “National Industrial Heritage and on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in China. Wuliangye’s crypt-like ancient yeast fermentation pit is a permanent collection of the National Museum of China and is the only “living heritage” collected in the Museum. Rich functional microorganism lives in the time-honored pit mud. With the pit and fermented grains reinforcing and enriching each other, Wuliangye has been endowed with the classical and elegant strong aroma.
Production of Wuliangye takes a long cycle from the selection of grains, grinding of yeast and making of starter, to production and selection, with high requirements on operation and control, leading to high cost especially in the production and fermentation stage. Multiple extremely complicated processes are followed, including pit-to-pit circulation of the fermented grain, continual use of fermented grain, raised water temperature to 100oC for better mix of water and steamed grains during fermentation. Grains are classified based on their quality and put into the pits in different layers. They are then removed from the pits after fermentation. Each cycle takes 70 days and thus 140 days for the dual cycle. Compared with other Baijiu of all aromas, Wuliangye has the longest cycle of fermentation. Traditional Baijiu-making technology of Wuliangye has been accredited as National Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Selection. Wuliangye selects only best of the best via layered classification. The color, aroma, taste and quality of the raw liquor are analyzed and identified meticulously and precisely. The first and last batch of distilled liquor are excluded. Only quality liquor is finally selected, jarred and stored. Experienced technicians taste while select the raw liquor and classify the raw liquor into multiple grades pursuant to sensory, physical and chemical indicators, making sure that only the raw liquor with best flavor and quality is selected for the blending of Wuliangye. The ratio of such best raw liquor to all the raw liquor is named "Rate of Famous Liquor" . With the aging of fermentation pits, “Famous Liquor Ratio” will continue to increases, up to 50-60%.
Aging. Tailor-made pottery jars are selected for the storage of raw liquor and put in dark places with little fluctuation of humidity and temperature. Micro pores on the jars allow stimulating substances to evaporate and further improve the quality of liquor. Oxygen thus enters the jar and slowly maturates with the molecules. After 3-5 years’ storage, molecules and aromatic substances fully incorporate and maturate, bringing on more profound and elegant aroma and pure and rich tastes.
Blending. Wuliangye creates the blending technology using liquor to blend liquor and refuses the use of any additives, which are not substances generated from natural solid state fermentation. Pursuant to the requirement of design and quality of Baijiu and according to sensory, physical and chemical indicators of Baijiu, base liquor from different workshops and pits with different years of storage and producing at different grades and alcohol concentration are arranged and combined. After combining and blending, scientific analysis is conducted on the sensory features of the combinations. Seasoning liquor is then added to meticulously balance aromas, ensuring and stabilizing the style of Wuliangye to be balanced and right to the point.
Product portfolio. The Company is dedicated to building a complete combination of liquor varieties worldwide and covers liquor from low-alcohol to high-alcohol concentration, namely, 39o, 45o, 52o, 56o, 60o, 68o, and 72o. A complete product supply chain has been built for the demand of consumers of all types.
1) Master brand products: generation-specific Wuliangye with the eighth-generation Wuliangye as the signature product; super high-end Baijiu series produced from fermentation pits built in the Ming Dynasty, with 501 Wuliangye as the signature; vintage Baijiu series with the classic Wuliangye as the signature and cultral customized Baijiu series with Chinese Zodiac Wuliangye as the signature ;
2) Wuliang Strong aromatic Baijiu brands including National Strategic Products with Wuliangchun, Wuliangchun, Wuliangtequ, Jianzhuang as the keystone; Regional Key Brands with Wuliangye Touqu, Wuliang Renjia, Youjiu, Baijiayan and Huobao as the supplement.
3) Fantasy Forest ecological brands including herbal wine with Fantasy Forest brands as the signature; fruit wine with Bailu, Shuxun, Xiaozhuoshiguang as the signature and red wine with Asia brands as the signature.
Marketing. Wuliangye adopts the marketing principle that development should be driven by consumers and facilitated via the building of platforms and digitization. The Company has established a global marketing system. Domestic market of the Company consists of seven marketing regions, 21 marketing divisions and 58 marketing bases. While the overseas market consists of international marketing centers in Europe, America, the Asia Pacific region and many other areas of the world. Products of the Company are sold directly to 56 duty-free shops and to over 100 countries and regions via its distribution network. The Company has set up a multi-dimensional channel combining on-line and off-line sales. For off-line sales, products are sold in distributor and specialty stores, Key Account supermarkets and chain stores, and retail stores. For on-line sales, the Company has set up a cloud store network and created the “digital liquor license”. A new retail model has been adopted to connect with distributors, terminals and consumers via the digitized platform.
Expertise. The Company is proud to have 64 state-level experts who are leading in the industry including Chinese Baijiu-making master, Chinese Chief Baijiu Taster, National-level Baijiu Judge and others. Besides, the Company clusters 67 provincial-level and 517 municipal-level backbone talents and 4000 plus technicians specializing in Baijiu-making. In the industry park, there are multiple national technology innovation platforms, academician’s workstations and post-doctoral workstations including China Light Industry Strong Aromatic Baijiu Solid Fermentation Key Lab, National Liquor Product Quality Supervision and Inspection Center, National Liquor Quality and Safety International Joint Research Center (Baijiu Sub-centre), National Enterprise Technology Center and others. The Company is invited vice-chairman-level members of China National Light Industry Council, vice-chairman-level member of China Chamber of International Commerce, member of the board of APEC China Business Council and Board of Directors of Boao Forum for Asia and vice-chairman-level or vice-president-level members of multiple national professional associations including China Association for Quality, China Alcoholic Drinks Association, China National Food Industry Association, and also China Alcoholic Drinks Circulation Association, China Association for Public Companies and others.
Quality management. The Company upholds the principle for quality management that quality is the life of businesses and every drop of Baijiu should be the yielding of craftsmanship. The purpose is to produce the perfect Baijiu and follow the strict quality standards. The essence of five grains and the centennial craftsmanship should always be the pursuit of the Company. The Company has written and implemented corporate standards higher than national ones and has built up a full life-cycle product quality management system covering every link from grain to liquor. The Company is committed to delivering high quality products to consumers in their pursuit of quality life. The Company has been awarded international and national merits including ANQ Asian Quality Excellence Award, Most Credible Chinese Enterprise, National Quality Management Award, National Quality Award, National Quality Management Benchmark and others. Wuliangye is the only Baijiu enterprise that has won top Chinese quality awards for four times.
Corporate social responsibility. Wuliangye bears in mind its mission to promote fine traditions and create harmony in life for sustainable development of the society. Wuliangye has adhered to eco-friendly and green development policies and takes the lead in promoting and exercising carbon neutrality. The target is to build a “zero-carbon” enterprise and industry park and a circular economy demonstration base that is leading in the industry for green and low-carbon energy and resource consumption. To promote harmonious coexistence of man and nature, Wuliangye has built a riverside protected area and wetland park to protect the ecological barrier and improve the environment of the upper reach of the Yangtze River. Wuliangye has been enlisted in China’s first batch of circular economy pilot entities. The Company has set up Wuliangye Charity Fund for the purposes of earthquake relief and reconstruction, targeted poverty eradication, rural revitalization, culture and education, armyman support and other public welfare undertakings. As the rotating chairman-level member of the Liquor and Social Responsibility Working Committee of China Alcoholic Drinks Association, Wuliangye campaigns moderate drinking and healthy lifestyle and extensively promotes the prohibition of drinking among minors and excessive drinking. Wuliangye has also launched campaigns against driving under the influence of alcohol and encouraged healthy and responsible drinking. Wuliangye has been accredited as “People’s Enterprise with Social Responsibility”, “Corporate Social Responsibility Jinding Award for Chinese Food Enterprises”, “Top 100 Enterprises of Social Responsibility” and others.
Development strategy. Centering on the development goals of the 14th Five-year Plan, Wuliangye adopts a strategy to focus on eco-friendliness, quality, culture, digitization and integrity as the basis, core, support, growth driver and guarantee, and endeavors to build a modern corporate with the “five-in-one” philosophy (eco-friendliness, quality, culture, digitization and integrity) for sustainable, stable and high-quality growth of a world-class enterprise.To be specific, there are five pathways:
1) Build an eco-friendly industry park and deliver eco-friendly products. Realize holistic eco-friendly production to set up an ecological development benchmark for China’s Baijiu industry.
2) Upgrade the pure grain solid fermentation base and continuously improve the quality management system. Increase the "rate of famous liquor" of Wuliangye products accredited as famous Baijiu to set up a high-quality development benchmark for China’s Baijiu industry.
3) Strengthen the cultural profoundness of the brand and fully tap the potentials of the brand culture. Innovate brand culture communication and marketing channels to set up a culture-driven development benchmark for China’s Baijiu industry.
4) Create a first-class digital marketing system, management system and business system to set up a digital transformation benchmark for China’s Baijiu industry.
5) Constantly upgrade the corporate governance capacity and competency and optimize the mechanism to ensure openness and fairness in the selection and empowerment of distributors to set up a modern corporate governance benchmark for China’s Baijiu industry.
Embarking on a new journey, Wuliangye will exercise the notion of harmony reflected in the full process of planting, Baijiu-making, blending, and marketing for the culture harmony to be deeply rooted. Wuliangye will fully explore and tell well the Chinese Baijiu story and constantly satisfy our consumers’ pursuit of a better life. Wuliangye’s golden brands—the flavor of a great nation, the harmony of Wuliangye, the king of Chinese Baijiu—are destined to shine even brighter. Wuliangye will expedite the building of a world first-class liquor producer with top-quality products, famous brand, leading innovative capacity and modern governance system.