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Makgeolli rice wine exports up this year

Oct 24,2009
Exports of traditional Korean rice wine surged by more than 20 percent in the first nine months of this year mainly due to strong demand from Japan, a government report said yesterday.

Exports of makgeolli, or rice wine, reached $3.56 million totaling 4,380 tons up until September, the Korea Customs Service said.

This marks a 24.1 percent on-year gain from 3,530 tons worth of the alcoholic beverage exported in the three quarters of 2008, it said. In terms of value, this year’s exports gained 23.2 percent from the $2.89 million tallied for the year before.

The milky brew with an alcohol content of 6 to 7 percent was the liquor of choice for Korean farmers and manual laborers until the 1970s, but lost market share to rivals such as beer and whiskey, as well as soju, Korean traditional distilled liquor.

After the fermented beverage was found to have health benefits, it has since started regaining popularity in Korea and abroad.

The KCS said outbound shipments have grown steadily from 1,127 tons in the first quarter to 1,745 tons in the July-September period.

“Japan bought 3,804 tons of the wine up till last month which is equivalent to 86.8 percent of the total shipped abroad,” the customs service said.

The United States was the second largest customer, buying 709 tons or 7.1 percent of all wine exported in the cited period. Exports to China and Vietnam accounted for 2.6 percent and 1.2 percent of the total, with outbound shipments to Australia making up 0.7 percent, the report said.

Yonhap



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