SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s imports of whisky soared more than 70 percent in the first 10 months of the year as more people drank at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.
The value of whisky imports came to US$93.21 million in the January-October period, up 73.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and the local liquor industry.
It represents the first on-year increase in the country’s whisky imports since 2014.
Industry sources attributed the surge to the fact that a growing number of people drink at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea’s whisky imports had been on the skids since peaking at $264.6 million in 2007.
The downturn followed the implementation of the country’s draconian anti-graft law in 2016 and a 52-hour workweek in 2018. Tough social distancing measures were also responsible as many bars in Seoul were forced to shut down.
The jump in South Korea’s whisky imports thus helped foreign whisky makers’ local subsidiaries perform far better this year.
Pernod Ricard Korea also saw its turnover spike 31.6 percent on-year to 120.5 billion won ($101 million) in fiscal 2020 (July 2020-June 2021), with its operating profit shooting up 66.9 percent to 26.9 billion won.
Sales of Diageo Korea Co., the South Korean unit of British alcoholic beverage company Diageo Plc, edged down 3.6 percent to 193.3 billion in the same fiscal year, but its operating income soared 85 percent to 37 billion won.