Introducing the World to Sweetness of Makgeolli, Kooksoondang
Thanks to the trend of healthy living, sweet and low-calorie alcoholi beverages are gaining popularity around the world. Interest in makgeolli (Korean rice wine), a representative Korean alcoholic beverage, is also steadily rising overseas. Most of the exported makgeolli products are sterilized thus allowing a long-shelf life to cover the long distances they have to travel to reach the consumer. However, many tourists visiting Korea enjoy drinking draft makgeolli so the demand for draft makgeolli in foreign markets is increasing. A renowned Korean traditional liquor producer, Kooksoondang, has been introducing draft makgeolli products in China and Southeast Asia since the late 2000s. Its products have garnered many fans who are fascinated by the refreshing taste of draft makgeolli.
Huge Popularity of Kooksoondang Draft Makgeolli with Chinese and Southeast Asian Consumers
The awareness of Kooksoondang makgeolli among Chinese and Southeast Asian consumers is very high, spreading through the word-of-mouth of tourists who have visited Korea and tasted Kooksoondang makgeolli there. Despite the relatively high price, more and more Kooksoondang draft makgeolli products are being sold overseas because of its unique flavor and the sweeter taste of draft makgeolli in comparison to sterilized makgeolli.
Kooksoondang draft makgeolli products are actively sold in large supermarkets, such as Carrefour and RT Mart, in Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities of China. The demand for Kooksoondang makgeolli is gradually increasing in Vietnam and Hong Kong. Recently, Kooksoondang made an export contract with the Taiwanese big distributor PX Mart, which runs about 850 stores, and Kooksoondang draft makgeolli has been exported to Taiwanese market since March.
Mr. Bruno Kim, a general manager of the International Business Department of Kooksoondang, explains, "Consumers of Kooksoondang draft makgeolli in China and Southeast Asia are mainly young people interested in Hallyu (Korean culture wave), the higher-income bracket highly interested in healthy liquors, and women who like sweet-flavored alcohol. Recently, our draft makgeolli sales to Korean food franchisees in China and Southeast Asia are rapidly expanding."
Striving to Achieve Recognition Overseas by Setting up a Cold Transportation and Storage System and Developing New Makgeolli Products
Kooksoondang’s advance to China and Southeast Asia did not happen in a day. In the beginning, few local consumers were familiar with makgeolli, and a cold transportation and storage system for draft makgeolli was not established well.
In those conditions, Kooksoondang started aggressive investment in creating a reliable cold transportation and storage system in addition to promoting its makgeolli products through local supermarkets and overseas franchises specializing in Korean food. Kooksoondang has been also putting much effort in developing new products such as fruit-flavored makgeolli that have a potential to captivate the tastes of foreign consumers. As a result, the sales of Kooksoondang makgeolli in China and Southeast Asia have been increasing by an average of 30 percent for the past four years.
Participating in SIAL CHINA 2016…Focus on Promoting Draft Makgeolli and Banana-Flavored Makgeolli
To advance further into inland China, the Chinese food service market, Taiwan, and Vietnam, Kooksoondang is planning to participate in the SIAL CHINA 2016 fair held in Shanghai this May. The company is going to display a variety of products with a particular emphasis on draft makgeolli and its new product, banana-flavored makgeolli.
Mr. Kim said, “These days, Korean spicy dishes, such as tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cake) and dak-galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken), are very popular with the Chinese and Southeast Asians. We will focus on raising awareness of Kooksoondang makgeolli by promoting the harmony of the sweetness of draft makgeolli with spiciness of Korean dishes.”
*Inquiries: Kooksoondang Brewery Co., Ltd.