Wine Becomes Most Popular Booze Import

  • By Kim Choong-ryung

    September 08, 2021 12:47

    Wine has displaced beer as the most popular imported alcohol. The trend may be due to more people drinking alone at home in lockdown, where they prefer a classier tipple to the endless shots of hard liquor they force down in after-work gatherings.

    A woman shops for wine in a superstore in Seoul on Aug. 30. /Newsis

    According to the Korea Customs Service last month, alcohol imports increased 8.2 percent last year to a record US$1.13 billion.

    An all-time high of $330 million worth of the imports was wine, up 27.3 percent, while beer imports plunged 19.2 percent to $227 million. That was party due to the waning popularity of Japanese beer and the newfound luster of Korean beer as craft beers or craft beer-style brews proliferated.

    Red was the most popular wine with 65.6 percent, followed by white (17.8 percent) and sparkling wine (14.1 percent). By country of origin, French wine accounted for 28.3 percent of the total, followed by Chilean (17.7 percent), American (17 percent), Italian (14.8 percent) and Spanish (7.8 percent).

    The trend is expected to continue as wine imports in the first seven months of this year already almost matched last year's total with $325 million. "Even if the coronavirus pandemic ends, these acquired tastes are here to stay," an industry insider said.

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