SEOUL, Nov.23 (Korea Bizwire) – Imports of foreign beer have reached an all-time high this year.
According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), $118 million worth of foreign beer was imported this year as of October, which already exceeds the $112 million total from last year.
In 2000, total beer imports were only valued at $50,000. The numbers have skyrocketed over the past 15 years.
Beer imports reached $44 million in 2010, and showed an average growth of between 17.7 percent and 33.6 percent annually. Imports reached $74 million in 2012, climbing to $90 million in 2013.
Ranking at the top in imports were Japanese brands such as Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin, which are traditionally popular in Korea. Their imports reached a total of $34 million. German beers ranked second, with a total of $16 million. The imported amount of Japanese and German beer grew 24.4 percent and 27.7 percent each compared to the same period last year.
Another notable growth was in the imported amount of Irish beer such as Guinness, and French beer such as the 1664 series, which has seen soaring popularity.
Ranking third in imports, $13 million worth of Irish beer was imported as of October this year, showing a 66.9 percent leap compared to the same period last year.
The growth in imports of French beer was even more noticeable. Imports reached $2 million, which is a 150.2 percent increase compared to last year. Considering that the total amount of French imports was only $130,000 in 2013, sales have multiplied by 15 times in only two years.
Industry officials believe the phenomenon is based on the tastes of young consumers. Since more young people nowadays have greater experience abroad and are familiar with foreign cultures, their desire for a wider variety of beers seems to have been reflected.
The aggressive marketing strategies of imported beers are also seen to have influenced the expansion of the foreign beer market. By holding discount promotions such as selling ‘four large cans for 10,000 won’, the foreign beer industry is winning the hearts of consumers, threatening the domestic beer market.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)