Lotte Liquor ups prices of soju and Kloud beerLotte Liquor will raise the prices next month of its Chum-Churum soju and Kloud beer.
The adjustment, announced Thursday, follows similar moves by Hite Jinro and Oriental Brewery.
Raising the price of alcohol, especially soju, can receive strong backlash in Korea as the higher costs tend to hit lower-income individuals disproportionately.
“We maintained the shipping price until now in consideration of the burden on consumers, but there’s been an accumulation of cost increases for material, shipping and labor,” Lotte said in a statement. “Costs were getting heavier; the increase was inevitable.”
Starting from next month, the shipping price of a 360-milliliter (12.1-ounce) bottle of Chum-Churum will increase 7.2 percent to 1,079.1 won ($0.91) from the current 1,006.5 won. The last price adjustment was in January 2016. Chum-Churum is Korea’s second most popular soju.
The shipping price of Chamisul, the best-selling brand, was increased 6.45 percent in April to 1,081.2 won for a 350-millilter bottle.
A 500-milliter bottle of Kloud beer will be increased 10.6 percent to 1,383 won from the previous 1,250 won. This is the first time Kloud prices were increased since the product was introduced in 2014.
The price of Fitz Superclear, another beer made by the company, was unchanged. It was released in mid-2016. The price of Lotte’s Chungha was increased 8 percent to 1,589.5 won for a 300-milliliter bottle. It was the first price increase in seven years.
Oriental Brewery was the first in the sector this year to up its prices. In April, the price of a 500-milliliter Cass bottle was raised by 4.9 percent to 1,203 won.
In the food and beverage market, second-tier companies usually follow the price leader on concerns about a backlash from customers.
Hite, the second best-selling beer, has not yet announced a price increase this year.
Changes in the shipping price of soju are usually followed by dramatic moves in the market.
It is expected that the price of a bottle will go to 5,000 won from 4,000 at restaurants.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [email@example.com]