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Beer, soju consumption bounces back

South Korean consumption of beer and soju has made a comeback in 2011 after three straight years of negative growth, a trade association said Wednesday.

The Korea Alcohol and Liquor Industry Association said beer shipments reached just under 1.25 million kiloliters in the first eight months of this year, up 3 percent from a year earlier.

Shipments of soju, a local distilled beverage made from rice and other starches, also grew 1 percent on-year to 809,891 kiloliters.

“Both beer and soju consumption had been on the decline after 2008, but a gradual pickup in the local economy seems to have buoyed demand,” KALIA said.

Growing preference for mixing soju and beer to make boilermakers has stimulated consumption, while the release of new soju brands with lower alcoholic content has attracted more women drinkers, it added.

Demand for “milder” soju reached 45,209 kiloliters in the first half of this year, representing a market share of 7.52 percent in the distilled liquor sector.

The association, however, said that the country’s whiskey consumption continued to contract this year.

Up until August, domestic shipments of whiskey reached 2,321 kiloliters, down from 2,890 kiloliters in 2010 and 60 percent from three years earlier, it said. 

(Yonhap News)
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