Korea consumed more top-range whisky aged 17 years or over than any other country in the world last year, according to a survey.
Korea topped the list with 698,000 cases (9 liters per case) of super-premium whisky, according to the survey by the U.K.'s International Wine and Spirit Research. It has ranked top for 11 consecutive years.
The U.S. was a distant second with 478,000 cases, or 68 percent of Korea's consumption, followed by China (234,000 cases), Taiwan, Japan, and France.
Despite a population of just 50 million, Korea consumed much more whisky than China with a population of 1.3 billion.
Experts attributed the phenomenon to the Korean custom of drinking boilermakers. According to the industry, 80 percent of super-premium whisky is consumed at high-end restaurants or bars. "In the U.S. and Europe, whisky is sold by the glass in bars, and people generally drink just one or two," an industry insider said. "But here super-premium whisky is consumed in large quantities because people drink lot of whisky shots with their boilermakers."
The overall amount of whisky reaching the market here dwindled 13.4 percent on-year, but that of super-premium whisky fell only 8.5 percent.