S. Korea's annual whisky import volume to exceed 30,000 tons for first time

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 23, 2023, 17:47 Updated : November 23, 2023, 17:47
SEOUL -- The popularity of whisky among young South Korean consumers was reflected in the volume of whisky that was imported between January and October 2023. According to South Korea's customs office, the total annual whisky import volume in 2023 will reach 30,000 tons.  

Whisky, which is more expensive compared to beer and Soju, traditional Korean liquor, was regarded as luxury goods in South Korea. The foreign spirit was normally served to important guests or was mainly consumed by people in their 40s and 50s who visit luxury bars and adult entertainment bars. However, the number of young home drinkers who seek their own unique cocktail recipes increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and highball also became popular.

Highball, a Japanese-style alcoholic cocktail that is based on an alcoholic spirit and a larger proportion of non-alcoholic base ingredients including soda and lemon juice, is favored because it is easy to make and come up with unique and tasty combinations. Whisky is widely used as the base alcohol of a highball and various unique highball recipes are shared through social media.

According to the state customs office, a total of 26,937 tons of whisky liquor was imported between January and October. The customs office predicted that the total annual whisky import volume for this year will exceed 30,000 tons for the first time.

The imports of whisky skyrocketed in 2022 with 27,038 tons, up 72.6 percent from a year ago. Young consumers favored cheaper whisky brands over luxury brands because the liquor was mainly consumed as base alcohol for highball cocktails. About 81 percent of imported whisky came from Britain, the customs data showed.

Meanwhile, imports of wine decreased. 47,500 tons of wine were imported between January and October, down 18.8 percent compared to the same period in 2022.
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