Wuzhen has a long history of brewing alcohol. As early as the 14th and 15th centuries, there were already more than 20 distilleries here, among which Gaogongsheng, Shunxing and Yongsheng were the most famous. Gaogongsheng Distillery, the only one still in existence, was first founded as a purveyor of pickled food in the 1360’s. It produces Sanbai Wine, a famous alcoholic drink that pleases the palate with its soft, lasting mellowness. It was presented at the enthronement ceremony of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1368. The Ming monarchy also had it listed as an article used to show respect in the court after his enthronement. This honor defined the stature of Gaogongsheng Distillery for centuries to come in this area of the country.
The distillery is comprised of a shop in front and the production area behind it. The shop is about 90m² in area while the factory has a floor space of 1300m². Daily output is about 200 liters. Sanbai Distillery currently produces three products: Sanbai Wine (55% alc./vol.), Sticky Rice Wine (12% alc./vol.), and Sweet Wine (4% alc./vol.). All are handcrafted through traditional methods. Made primarily of white rice, white flour and white water (i.e. pure water), these products are collectively known as Sanbai Jiu, or "the three whites wine" in Chinese.