SEOUL, March 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Hite Jinro Co., a major South Korean liquor maker, said Friday it will soon ship 30,000 bottles of its new “Chamnamootong Margeunisul” soju, the traditional Korean distilled liquor, to Hong Kong.
The premium soju will be distributed to restaurants, supermarkets and bars through local distributors.
The new brand with alcohol content of 16 percent in a 300 milliliter bottle was launched in South Korea last December and is made from alcohol aged in wooden casks melded with morning dew for delicate aroma and flavor, the company said.
“After three years of development and blind taste tests with 1,000 people, Hite Jinro successfully produced Chamnamootong Margeunisul with its 93-year-old expertise in soju manufacturing and blending technology,” it said on its website. “The blending of alcohol aged in oak barrels and rice-distilled liquor created the clean taste and delicate flavor, which is popular among many consumers.”
The company said it plans to ship the new soju to other Southeast Asian nations in the near future.
Soju sales have also grown steadily abroad due to the popularity of Korean pop culture, as K-pop music videos, films and dramas often show people consuming soju with “samgyeopsal,” or grilled pork belly.
The combination of soju and samgyeopsal is one of the most popular foods in South Korea alongside fried chicken and beer, a combination called “chimaek.”
Hite Jinro, meanwhile, recently opened a flagship pub in Hong Kong to sell Hite Jinro’s beer and soju.
It is Hite Jinro’s second bar in a foreign country following its Korean-style covered street bar, or “pojangmacha,” in Hanoi, Vietnam, which opened last year.
Hite Jinro’s soju sales in Southeast Asia leaped to US$6 million in 2016 from $4.9 million in 2015. They jumped further to $8.8 million last year, a growth of 46.7 percent from the previous year.
Sales of Hite Jinro’s soju exceeded the 1 trillion won (US$894 million) mark in 2016 for the first time since its debut in 1998, with a total of 1.7 billion bottles of 360 milliliter soju sold.
It was the first time any South Korean soju maker reported a trillion won in sales.