Cheers come with no-alcohol beers

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Cheers come with no-alcohol beers

The 2014 FIFA World Cup games featuring Korea’s national team may be played at the crack of dawn local time, but that doesn’t spell an end to the traditional combination of football, snacks and, most importantly, beer.

According to 7-Eleven, the convenience store chain operated by Lotte Group, sales at its stores nationwide between midnight and 9 a.m. yesterday jumped 19.6 percent compared to the previous year.

The Korean team’s first match in the 2014 World Cup, which ended in a 1-1 tie with Russia, began at 7 a.m. local time.

The surge in overall sales was led by non-alcoholic beers, in particular Hite Zero and Mac’s Light. The convenience store chain said that sales of these two non-alcoholic drinks increased 249.2 percent from the previous year.

“We were quite surprised,” said an official from 7-Eleven. “We didn’t have any expectations for beer sales this time because most of the games are scheduled early in the morning.”

The next match against Algeria on June 23 will start at 4 a.m. local time. The third match against Belgium on June 27 will start at 5 a.m. Despite the early hour, public viewing events were held officially at two locations in Seoul - the Gwanghwamun area in central Seoul and near Samseong Station in southern Seoul - as well as in other regional areas including Busan and Daegu.

7-Eleven said snacks were also very popular yesterday. Sales of chips and nachos jumped 186.3 percent over the same period last year while pieces of fried chicken increased 166.7 percent.

“We set up two more refrigerators filled with drinks and three times more snacks than usual ahead of the game [yesterday],” said a salesperson at 7-Eleven’s Gwanghwamun store. “We sold off most of them. There were many people cheering on the street although it was early in the morning.”

Online shopping malls also saw sales of non-alcoholic drinks jump. From last Tuesday to Monday, sales of non-alcohol drinks went up 92 percent compared to the previous year. Sales of finger foods like beef jerky and dried squid jumped 58 percent over the same period.

11th Street is offering free delivery on boxes of 24 Hite Zero beers.

Hite Zero, the first Korean non-alcoholic beer, was introduced in November 2012.

BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]



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