Whisky loses most imported title in KoreaBy Amy Hopkins
Wine has overtaken whisky as the most imported alcoholic beverage for the first time in the key Korean market, new figures have revealed.
According to the Korea International Trade Association, the nation’s wine imports grew 5.5% in the first half of this year to US$92.43 million.
However, imports of whisky declined slightly to US$91.73m.
After falling for three straight years from 2011 to 2013, Korea’s whisky imports rebounded last year to US$198.28 million, but fell again in the first half of this year.
Figures show that wine accounted for 24.9% of Korea’s total alcoholic imports, while whisky’s share of the market stood flat at 24.1%.
In total, Korea imported US$379.84m worth of alcohol in the first six months of 2015.
Officials from the Korea International Trade Association told The Korea Bizwire: “Other than traditional wine-exporting countries like France, wine from America, Australia, Chile and South Africa is in high demand.
“As the taste of domestic consumers diversified, the number of countries wine is imported from has also diversified.”
Scotch whisky producers in particular have viewed South Korea as a key market since a Fair Trade Agreement was pledged between the nation and the EU in 2011.
However, volume exports have been slipping in recent years, declining 3% from 23.5m cases in 2013 to 23m in 2014.
It was revealed in March this year that US spirits exports to Korea had soared by 71% in the last three years following the implementation of a separate FTA between the two countries.