Beer in South Korea

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Beer
Korean beer and takju-01.jpg
South Korean beer on display for sale in July 2008
Hangul 맥주
Hanja 麥酒
Revised Romanization maekju
McCune–Reischauer maekchu
IPA [mɛ̝k̚.t͈ɕu]

Beer, called maekju (맥주; 麥酒) in Korean, was first introduced to Korea in the early 20th century. Seoul's first beer brewery opened in 1908.[1] Two current major breweries date back to the 1920s. The third brewery established in Korea, Jinro Coors Brewery, was founded in the 1990s. It was later acquired by Oriental Breweries (OB). Hite Breweries's former name was Chosun Breweries, which was established in 1933. The company changed their name to Hite Breweries in 1998.[2] OB Breweries established as Showa Kirin Breweries in 1933. The company changed their name to OB Breweries in 1995.[3]

The South Korean beer market is currently dominated by two major manufacturers, Hite-Jinro and OB, with several brands being sold in the local market. Most restaurants and bars in Korea only have one of these beer brands on tap (Hite or OB's Cass), as they are largely regarded to be similar in taste and price (they are mostly brewed from rice). Imported beers are largely available in Korea, but are generally expensive - usually costing at least 8,000 and as much as ₩15,000 for a pint of Guinness in bars in downtown Seoul. Local brands usually cost around ₩3,000, thus presenting a cheaper option. Recently, microbreweries have sprouted up throughout the country, showing increasing signs of sophistication. Out of Korea's mass-produced beers, only two are brewed from 100% barley malt: Max (Hite) and OB Golden Lager.

The lack of microbreweries in the South Korean market is attributed to onerous government regulations. This has constrained small-size brewers from supplying beer to locations under their ownership. These laws were eventually relaxed in June 2011, granting several small players a share in the local beer market.[4]

A growing trend in South Korea is home brewing. While ingredients and supplies are still limited, there are many households brewing their own beer. Various brewing clubs also exist to help guide newcomers through the processes of home brewing in South Korea; one such club being Homebrew Korea.[5]

Domestic brands[edit]

Gangseo beer
Gangseo beer
  • HiteJinro: Hite, Max, Dry D, S, Stout, Lager Beer, Prime Draft, J Draft, Queen's Ale[6]
    • HiteJinro is a merger between two alcohol companies: Hite Brewery and Jinro. Hite Brewery was established in 1933 as a liquor company. Jinro was established in 1924 as the first Korean beer company. In 2006, Jinro was acquired by Hite, a popular beverage company. HiteJinro is the world's leading producer of Soju. HiteJinro manufactures many types of alcoholic beverages.[7][8]
  • Oriental Brewery (OB): OB Golden Lager, Cass brands (Cass Fresh, Cass Light, Cass Red, Cass Lemon), Cafri, Aleston
    • Oriental Brewery (OB) was established in 1933. OB Golden Lager was launched in 2011.
  • Lotte Liquor: Kloud
    • Lotte Chilsung was established in 1950. Their original product was a lemon-lime soft-drink. Since then, they have created a multitude of beverages.[9]
  • Korea Craft Brewery: ARK, Hitachino
    • KCB has collaborated with other brands such as SM and Line Friends.
  • 7Bräu: Gangseo
    • 7Bräu started as a small pub in the Gangseo district of Seoul, thus lending the name of their signature beer. It is the first Korean beer named after a district (e.g. Tsingtao Brewery in China and Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York). The label design features an air control tower, a reference to Gimpo International Airport, which is also located in the Gangseo district.[10]
  • Energin: Kimpo
    • A beer made from ginseng and rice. The rice is locally cultivated in Gimpo, South Korea.[11]

Korean Domestic beers[edit]

Dryfinish, Cass
  • HiteJinro
    • Hite: A pale lager beer launched in 1993. Hite is 4.3% abv.[12]
    • Max: Launched in 2006 as the first all malt Korean beer. A special edition of Max beer is made annually. Max is 4.5% abv.[13]
    • Dry D: Launched as a dry type beer in 2010. The brewing method was made in cooperation with the Danish brewing company, Danbrew. It is made using a select dry yeast. Dry D is 4.8% abv.[14]
    • S: A low calorie beer produced by super attenuated brewing. It contains 0.5g of fiber per 100ml. S is 3.8% abv.[15]
    • Stout: A dark beer launched in 1991. It is a lager-type black beer made with German black malt. Stout is 5% abv.[16]
    • Lager Beer: Made from malt and German hops. Lager Beer is 5% abv.[17]
    • Prime Draft: Sold in regular and Green. Regular is 5% abv with Green being 4.5% abv.[18]
    • J Draft: J Draft is 5% abv.[19]
    • Queen's Ale: A pale ale beer top fermented and completed with a triple hopping process. Queen's Ale is 5.4% abv.[20]
Max
OB premier
  • Oriental Brewery (OB)
    • Cass brands (Cass Fresh, Cass Light, Cass Red, Cass Lemon): There are several different beers for sale under the Cass brand name. Cass is a non-pasteurized lager. At 6.9% abv, Cass Red is the strongest variety currently sold.[21]
    • OB Golden Lager: An all malt beer made primarily from Perle hops. OB Golden Lager is 4.8% abv.[22]
    • Cafri: Launched as a premium beer by OB in 1995. It is the first Korean beer to have a transparent bottle and a twist-off cap. Cafri is 4.2% abv.[23]
    • Aleston: A British style ale sold in a black and brown variety. Aleston Black is 5% abv with Aleston Brown being 5.2% abv.[24][25]
      Hite extra cold
Mango Lingo
  • Lotte Liquor
    • Kloud: An all malt beer launched by Lotte Chilsung in 2014. It is made with German hops and brewed using original gravity. Kloud is 5% abv.[26]
  • Korea Craft Brewery
    • ARK: Available in Brown, Cony, and Classic. Brown and Classic are 4.3% abv with Cony being 4.5% abv.[27]
  • 7Bräu

History of beer and beer market in South Korea[edit]

Beer was first introduced to Korea in the early 20th century. Seoul's first beer brewery opened in 1908.[28] The two current major breweries date back to the 1920s. The third brewery established in Korea, Jinro Coors Brewery, was founded in the 1990s, but was later acquired by Oriental Breweries (OB).[29]

In the past, Korean consumers had a preference to lagers versus ales or wheat beer; with the aforementioned flavors being rather unfamiliar.[30] Recently, beer consumption has become more widespread. With the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) enacted, the importation of foreign beers tripled in 2015 compared with the previous year.[31] The beer brand Paulaner topped sales in the first half of 2015, followed by Hoegaarden and Guinness.[32] Recently, Korean society has shown an interest in drinking alcohol alone at home, with single-person households being the most common.[33] This trend is depicted in the Korean TV drama Drinking Solo (Honsul).[34]

Since 2014, the South Korean beer market has largely been dominated by OB and HiteJinro. Recently, Lotte Liquor has entered the beer market with Kloud, creating a three-way competition.[35]

Foreign beers in South Korea[edit]

Various foreign beer brands are available on the Korean market, with interest rapidly increasing. Major brands such as Hoegaarden, Heineken, and Budweiser rank high in the Korean beer market.[36] Due to the cost of malt, Korean beer makers have largely turned to using corn, rice, and tapioca for manufacturing.[37] Korean beer's malt rate is about 7%. Comparatively, German beer's malt rate is 100% with Japanese beer being 66%.[38] With the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Europe and Korea in 2014, the import of foreign beers has drastically increased.[39]

Microbreweries[edit]

Kloud
  • Korea Craft Brewery: Located in Chungbuk. It has been ordered by Hitachino Nest.[40]
  • The Hand and Malt: Located in Namyangju. Owner of Korea's largest hops farm.[41]
  • Magpie Brewing Co.: Served on tap at three locations: Itaewon, Hongdae and Jeju.[42]
  • Galmegi Brewing Co.: American style brewery located in Seomyeon.[43]
  • The Booth: Located in Gyeongnidan. Began as a small pub in 2013. [1]
  • Craftworks Taphouse: Brewpub in Namsan operational since 2013.[44]
  • Guarneri: Restaurant and pub located in Gangnam.[45]

Beer Festivals in South Korea[edit]

Great Korean Beer Festival at Younsan station
Great Korean Beer Festival at Younsan station 2
  • Great Korean Beer Festival: Held annually at Yongsan Ipark Mall Square in Seoul. There are many beers available both foreign and domestic. Many food options are also available.[46]
  • Chimak Festival: Held in the city of Daegu. The name is an amalgamation of "chicken" and "mak-ju" (beer in Korean).[47]

Former products[edit]

  • OB, OB Lager, OB Blue: Predecessors of OB Golden Lager.
  • OB Super Dry.
  • Crown, Crown Super Dry: Hite's (formerly Chosun Brewery) main product until the early 1990s.
  • Hite Prime: Succeeded by Max.
  • Hite Exfeel: Succeeded by S.
  • ARK: The first craft beer by Korea Craft Brewery.[48]

Statistics[edit]

Beer Supplied in Korea (2011)[49]
Local Products Imported Products Total
Value
Billion Won (KRW)
3,800
(93.8%)
250
(6.2%)
4,049
Volume
(Kiloliter)
1,738,759
(96.7%)
58,993
(3.3%)
1,797,752
Importation of Beer in Korea (2012)[49]
Country Value
(Million dollar)
Share (%)
Japan 26.4 n/a
Netherlands 9.9 n/a
United States 6.5 n/a
Ireland 6.5 n/a
China n/a n/a
Germany 5.8 n/a
Mexico n/a n/a
Belgium 2.1 n/a
Market Sales Between Domestic and Imported Beer (2016)[50]
Year Domestic Beer

Sales (Billion Won)

Imported Beer
2013 2110 300
2014 2140 360
2015 2165 500
2016

(estimated)

2190 620

Criticism[edit]

The Economist magazine published an article criticizing South Korean beers to be as boring or worse than North Korea's Taedonggang Beer. The magazine claimed some South Korean beers skimp on barley malt, using corn and rice instead. The article further described the problem as a result of the national market being a cramped duopoly (Hite-Jinro and Oriental Brewery) that prevented microbreweries from entering the market.[51] South Korean beer companies denied the allegations, one specifically saying that "most (South) Korean beers contain more than 70 percent malt, and some including Hite Max of Hite and OB Golden Lager of OB contain 100 percent malt. Rice and corn are not cheaper than malt, and these grains are used in the mixture to generate a mild taste." Despite the negative reactions from the South Korean breweries, many local beer drinkers are still dissatisfied with the taste of local beer brands.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seoul City Guide. Lonely Planet. 2009. 
  2. ^ Naver`s Company dictionary, Naver`s Company dictionary (2016-11-28). "THE HITEJINRO CO.,LTD". http://terms.naver.com/entry.nhn?docId=1715507&cid=43167&categoryId=43167.  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ Naver`s Company dictionary, Naver`s Company dictionary (2016-11-28). "Oriental Brewery Company". http://terms.naver.com/entry.nhn?docId=649787&cid=43167&categoryId=43167.  External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ ""House beer"...Quality Competition Fiercely Allowed". Korean Broadcasting System. August 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Homebrew Korea". 
  6. ^ "HITEJINRO". english.hitejinro.com. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  7. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "HiteJinro". http://www.hitejinro.com/main.asp. HiteJinro.  External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Naver, Naver (2016-11-18). "Naver Dictionary". http://terms.naver.com/entry.nhn?docId=1715507&cid=43167&categoryId=43167.  External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ "LOTTE CHILSUNG BEVERAGE". company.lottechilsung.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  10. ^ Jung, Youngil (2016-10-20). "7brau launched their new beer brand "Gangseo beer".". 
  11. ^ Kim, Sungjin (2012-08-21). "인삼쌀맥주 페스티벌, 김포 '에너진' 성공 가능성 선보여" [ginseng beer 'Energin' is well-received in festival]. asia news. 
  12. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "Hite". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_hite.asp?.  External link in |website= (help)
  13. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "Max". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_maxb.asp.  External link in |website= (help)
  14. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "Dry finish d". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_dryd.asp.  External link in |website= (help)
  15. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "S". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_sbee.asp.  External link in |website= (help)
  16. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "Stout". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_stou.asp.  External link in |website= (help)
  17. ^ "HITEJINRO". english.hitejinro.com. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  18. ^ "HITEJINRO". english.hitejinro.com. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  19. ^ "HITEJINRO". english.hitejinro.com. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  20. ^ HiteJinro, HiteJinro (2016-11-18). "Queen`s ale". http://www.hitejinro.com/Bran/Beer/bran_beer_queensale_blonde.asp.  External link in |website= (help)
  21. ^ "::: OB :::". www.obbeer.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  22. ^ "::: OB :::". www.obbeer.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  23. ^ "::: OB :::". www.obbeer.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  24. ^ Team, The Untappd. "Untappd". Untappd. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  25. ^ Team, The Untappd. "Untappd". Untappd. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  26. ^ "Kloud Beer USA – Rich & Smooth". kloudbeerusa.com. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  27. ^ "Korea Craft Brewery | Beer". www.koreacraftbrewery.com. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  28. ^ Seoul City Guide. Lonely Planet. 2009. 
  29. ^ "Interbrew and Oriental Brewery signed the final agreement to purchase Jinro Coors in South-Korea". Anheuser-Busch InBev. November 4, 1999. 
  30. ^ Lee, Jae-hoon (2016-03-28). "국산맥주의 위기" [crisis of domestic beer] (in Korean). financial news. 
  31. ^ Kim, Hyang-in (2015-12-28). "맥주 선호도 증가···맥주 수입액 300.6%↑" [the preference of beer increased in Korea, amount of imports increased triple]. Weeklytoday. 
  32. ^ Jeong, Yeong-ill (2015-06-09). "맥주 선호도 변화…라거 지고 에일 뜨고…파울라너· 호가든·기네스 순" [Rising of ales beer in Korean beer market]. aju-news. 
  33. ^ Kim, youngnam (2016-10-28). "Bottoms up: more Koreans are drinking alone". Korea Jooang daily. 
  34. ^ Beck, Yoong-hui (2016-10-06). "[ON+View┃방송] '혼술남녀', 드라마도 사회적 흐름 따라간다" ['honsul couple',TV series reflects social movement]. etnews. 
  35. ^ Visual Dive (2015-02-01). "국내 맥주시장, 신제품‧수입이 인기…시장 점유율 증가세 [인포그래픽]". 
  36. ^ Park, ki-tae (2016-10-11). "10월 수입맥주 브랜드 평판 1위 '호가든' 2위 '칭따오'" [brand reputation of importing beer in October]. Focus News. 
  37. ^ Seo, Chul-in (2010-08-18). "'안 마시면 어쩔래' 배짱의 국내 맥주회사들" [Audacity of Korean beer company] (in Korean). monthly-chosun. 
  38. ^ issue, today (2016-07-29). "[이슈 투데이] 국산 맥주는 맛이 없다? '김'빠진 한국 맥주" [Is Korean beer untasty?]. MBC News. 
  39. ^ Park, Dong-ju (2016-03-30). "수입맥주 전성시대…작년 맥주 수입량 사상최대" [A golden age of importing beer]. yonhap news. 
  40. ^ Jung, Hyeongsuk (2014-09-03). "'아이팟' 엔지니어가 만드는 맥주는…코리아 크래프트 브류어리" [Beer which made by I-pod engineer, Korea craft brewery] (in Korean). hankyung. 
  41. ^ "Farm — The Hand & Malt". thehandandmalt.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  42. ^ "Magpie Brewing Co.". Magpie Brewing Co. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  43. ^ Kim, dahyun (2016-09-13). "부산의 미국 스타일 맥주 양조장 보유한 브루펍, 갈매기 브루잉" [American style Brewpub, Galmegi Brewing]. Aving global news network. 
  44. ^ "Namsan | Craftworks Taphouse". www.craftworkstaphouse.com. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  45. ^ "GUARNERI TAPHOUSE - Craft Beer & Gastro Delight". www.guarneritaphouse.co.kr. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  46. ^ "http://greatkoreanbeerfestival.com/?lang=en_us". greatkoreanbeerfestival.com. Retrieved 2017-02-11.  External link in |title= (help)
  47. ^ Daegu, Daegu (2016-12-12). "The festivals in Daegu". 
  48. ^ "Korea Craft Brewery | ARK". www.koreacraftbrewery.com. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  49. ^ a b "Beer, Korea - Republic of". U.S. Agricultural Trade Office, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service. February 7, 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.  GAIN Report Number:KS1312
  50. ^ Lee, Hyun-tek (2016-03-28). "수입맥주가 어느새 40% 넘었네" [Share rate of importing beer over 40%]. Joongang Daily. 
  51. ^ "Brewing in South Korea: Fiery food, boring beer, A dull duopoly crushes microbrewers". The Economist. November 24, 2012. 
  52. ^ "Criticism of S.Korean beer". The Dong-a Ilbo. November 29, 2012.