Prices of top whiskies will be raised in mid-April

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Prices of top whiskies will be raised in mid-April

Bad news for Johnnie Walker enthusiasts who hoped to catch a break when the Korea-Europe free trade agreement went into effect last summer. The price is going up instead.

Diageo Korea, which distributes premium-branded scotch whiskies such as Johnnie Walker and Windsor, said Tuesday it’s charging more from April 13.

Johnnie Walker Black Label, the most popular whisky, will be 4.9 percent higher.

A 500-milliliter bottle of will go up from 25,146 won ($22.14) to 26,378 won, and a 700-mililiter bottle will go from 36,685 won to 38,500 won.

The company will raise the prices of 12-year, 17-year and 21-year Windsor by 5.9 percent, 5.7 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

A 500-milliliter bottle of 12-year Windsor will go up from 24,992 won to 26,466 won, and a 700-ml bottle will go from 34,397 won to 36,410 won.

Meanwhile, prices of less popular whiskies like Dimple 1890, Crown Royal and Windsor XR will be lowered by 3 to 15 percent.

After the FTA with the European Union went to effect last July, 20 percent tariffs on whiskies were lowered to 15 percent. The reaming tariff will be cut by 5 percent each year for the next three years.

However, the company said the tariff cut doesn’t really affect whisky prices. “Since tariffs account for a very small portion when determining prices, the FTA doesn’t really cause whisky makers to cut prices,” an official at Diageo said.

The official said the price of Windsor has not been adjusted for 20 months.

“We had to raise the prices due to rising logistics and production costs that stemmed from high international oil prices,” the official said.

Pernorica Korea, another whisky importer, said it doesn’t plan to raise its prices.

According to food industrial analysts, the prices of a number of items might be raised after the April 11 by-election because of high commodity prices. Some are overdue. Oriental Brewery said it would raise the prices of five products by over 7 percent in December, but it scrapped the plan after three days after the public squawked.

“Considering the top priority of the government is to tame inflation, companies have hesitated to raise prices in order to avoid public criticism,” said Kim Jin-hyuk, a research fellow at Samsung Economic Research Institute.


By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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