Beer has become the best-selling foreign liquor in South Korea, elbowing out harder liquor whisky and wine for the first time ever, data showed Tuesday.
According to data by the Korea International Trade Association, imports of beer in the January-July period reached $143.9 million, up a whopping 50.5 percent from a year earlier. Beer imports grew 33.6 percent in 2011 and have surged over 20 percent annually for the past seven years.
By country, Japanese beer - led by the top four brands Asahi, Kirin, Santori and Sapporo - came on top at $39.7 million, followed by Chinese brands at $20.7 million and German labels at $14.6 million. Belgian and Irish beer, popular among younger consumers, amounted to $12.4 million and $11.8 million, respectively.
Imports of wine which ranked top for the last two years slipped to second place with a value of $111.5 million, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier.
Imports of whisky, the most popular foreign liquor in the country until Koreans turned to lighter spirits in recent years, finished third at $80.3 million, down 14.8 percent on year. Brandy imports stopped at $1.82 million.
Tendency to enjoy lighter drink and drinking alone as well as the increasing number of female drinkers have contributed to the rise in beer and wine demand, industry sources said.
Korea’s total alcohol imports, led by beer and wine, expanded 10.5 percent to $498.2 million in the same period.
Exports of Korean alcohol gained 2.9 percent on year to $210.6 million.
By Moon Ji-woong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]