Beer sales rise as consumers drink lighter

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Beer sales rise as consumers drink lighter

Sales of beer in Korea are posting robust growth this year, largely backed by strong demand for imported beers, as consumers prefer to have light drinks over a meal instead of heavy liquor, industry sources said Tuesday.

According to data by E-Mart, the proportion of beer sales to all alcoholic beverages was 55 percent in April.

The brisk growth is mainly attributed to the popularity of imported beers, E-Mart said, whose sales surged nearly 42 percent to 8.8 billion won ($7.75 million) in March. Its annual sales jumped 24.3 percent last year from a year earlier.

Analysts said the figures reflect changes in society where more consumers are opting to enjoy light drinks with their families, as opposed to binge drinking with colleagues.

“The spread of such a trend deriving from growing single households and lone-eaters has also fueled the sale of beer,” an E-Mart official said.

Korea has seen a rapid increase in the number of one-person households, reaching 7.4 million, or nearly 35 percent of the country’s households.

The new antigraft law that went into effect last year has partly helped spur the change in the way alcohol is consumed, analysts said.

Korea’s inbound shipments of foreign beers hit a half-yearly record of some 95,858 tons in 2016, up 34.5 percent from a year earlier. The country imported 170,919 tons in 2015, worth $142 million, up 43 percent from the previous year, according to Korea Customs Service.

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