SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Korean craft beers selling at convenience stores are enjoying a surge in popularity.
Three years ago, the convenience store beer market was dominated by imported beers thanks to a hugely popular promotion in which four cans were selling for 10,000 won (US$8.42).
Today, the situation has changed with each convenience store brand placing focus on selling a unique craft beer.
The primary factors behind the change in circumstances include a slump in the Japanese beer import market resulting from the boycott against Japanese products initiated in 2019, the growth of the home beer market caused by the spread of the COVID-19 that began early last year, and the consumption trend of the so-called MZ generation that values individuality.
At present, convenience store chain CU is selling 27 different kinds of craft beers on its own, with the share of craft beers among its total beer sales estimated at 15.2 percent in the January to October period of this year.
CU is not alone. Among 500-milliliter cans of beer selling at GS25, the share of craft beers shot up from 2.1 percent in 2018 to 12.4 percent this year.
The share of craft beers among locally made beer sales at 7-Eleven jumped from 2.5 percent in 2018 to 15.2 percent this year.
According to trade statistics from the Korea Customs Service, the value of South Korean beer imports has been on a downward trend, falling from US$309 million in 2018 to $281 million in 2019, $227 million in 2020 and $185 million in the January to October period of this year.
In contrast, the size of the nation’s craft beer market ballooned to 120 billion won (US$100 million).
On the back of the rising popularity of craft beer, CU acquired an export and import brewery business license this year, and plans to export a variety of craft beers to foreign markets, including Mongolia and Malaysia, starting next month.
GS25 is already exporting various craft beers to 11 countries, including Germany, the birthplace of beer.
J. S. Shin (email@example.com)