Imports of Japanese sake hit record high

Korea’s imports of Japanese traditional alcoholic beverage sake jumped to a record high this year amid growing demand for foreign liquors among local consumers, customs data showed Monday.

Korea imported a record high of 4.1 million liters of sake during the January-November period, up 70.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service.

The amount was valued at $14 million, an 8.8 percent increase from a year earlier.
The jump comes amid growing demand for foreign alcoholic beverages. South Korea’s imports of four major alcoholic beverages — sake, beer, wine and whiskey — jumped 15.3 percent to 115 million liters during the cited period. It is valued at $398 million, up 1.9 percent from a year earlier.

Imports of beer grew 23.6 percent on-year to 67 million liters, which is valued at $68 million, up 26.6 percent over the same period, the data showed. Japanese beer accounted for the largest amount at 25.9 percent, followed by those from the Netherlands at 18.3 percent.

Imports of wine also increased. The data showed that the country imported a total of 26 million liters of wine during the first 11 months of this year, up 16.4 percent from a year earlier. Their value was $131 million, up 13.5 percent from last year.

Meanwhile, Korea exported 71 million liters of soju, a 16.7 percent rise from a year earlier. The amount is estimated at $117 million, up 13.7 percent over the same period.

However, exports of makgeolli, one of the country’s most popular traditional alcoholic beverages, dropped 29.5 percent and 28.7 percent on-year in terms of their amount and value. It was the first contraction in 10 years.

The decline is due in part to the base effect from the past few years when its exports soared, the customs office explained. <The Korea Times/Yonhap>

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