SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea now accounts for 60 percent of Japanese beer exports every year. Most of the imports are manufactured at three factories in Fukuoka and Oita, Japan.
NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting channel, reported on Thursday that the volume of Japanese beer exports to South Korea has increased by more than 100 times over the last 10 years.
As of 2017, 75,700㎘ of Japanese beer were exported to South Korea, accounting for almost 60 percent of total beer exports in Japan.
NHK pointed out four factors that led to such a dramatic increase in beer exports to South Korea. First, the geographic proximity between the two countries helps keep the beer fresh.
The distance between Japan’s Hakata Port and South Korea’s Busan Port is more or less 200 kilometers, short enough to maintain the quality of the beer.
Koto Consumption, a Japanese expression that refers to people who purchase goods and services for the experiences that they create, as opposed to Mono Consumption, which refers to people who purchase a product to the value found in possessing it, is becoming a trend among South Korean tourists, which has also lead to an increase in beer sales.
At a beer factory in Fukuoka, a Korean-speaking tour guide explains the secrets of Japanese beer to South Korean tourists, after which they will head over to the popular beer tasting program.
These tour packages are going viral on South Korean social networks.
How to pour a beer is also one of the important factors in the sales increase. The great taste of draft beer relies heavily on how it is poured.
Japanese beer makers have made fans out of South Koreans by providing special courses at local pubs or Korean restaurants on how to pour a beer properly.
A 500㎖ canned beer at local Japanese malls sell for around 2,500 won (US$2.25) each, which is almost as cheap as South Korean beer, which typically sells for around 2,000 won per can.
South Korea’s recent cultural shift to focus more on balancing work and life is also a factor.
“The recent trend of work-life balance is encouraging South Koreans to enjoy more leisure and find value in life, even if something becomes more expensive,” said Hwang Ji-hye, an expert on the South Korean beer market.
Lee Seok-su, a local entrepreneur, said watching sports after work with a can of Japanese beer is how he frees himself from a stressful work environment.
An NHK reporter said Japanese beer is a perfect complement to South Korea’s spicy food, adding that despite the somewhat tenuous relationship between the two countries, Japanese beer and South Korean food match exceptionally well.
Kevin Lee (email@example.com)