With gathering restrictions and enterprise curfews in place all through the pandemic, the alcoholic beverage business, amongst different hospitality-related sectors, has confronted setbacks from the protracted coronavirus disaster.
However on the again of the shifting ingesting tradition, such because the rising development of at-home solo ingesting and residential events, and altering calls for, the business is studying to navigate by way of the pandemic by adapting to new shopper wants.
Throughout the business, the wine market has outshined others throughout the virus disaster, with the nation’s wine imports reaching a formidable US$506.2 million within the January-November interval of 2021, up 76 % from a yr earlier, in keeping with the Korea Customs Service.
It marked the primary time that the nation’s wine imports surpassed the $500 million stage. South Korea’s wine imports had been on a gentle rise — amounting to $244 million in 2018 earlier than rising to $259.3 million in 2019 and $332 million in 2020.
Trade watchers attribute the expansion in wine imports to the rise within the variety of stay-at-home drinkers, resembling dad and mom with younger youngsters, ingesting by themselves or with relations at dwelling as an alternative of going to bars amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A consumer appears at a number of wine at a big low cost grocery store in Seoul on Jan. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)
Lee Myung-jin, a working mom of two youngsters residing in Mapo, western Seoul, advised Yonhap Information Company that she usually loved having wine along with her husband as a stress reliever not too long ago at dwelling after placing their youngsters to sleep.
“I’ve not often met with coworkers at eating places or bars after work because of considerations of infections,” Lee mentioned. “Luckily, I’ve been having fun with having wine within the consolation of my dwelling, particularly as wine has turn out to be extra frequent and inexpensive these days,” she added.
Whiskey was additionally in excessive demand, with imports hitting a five-year excessive of $154.3 million within the 11-month interval, up 37.4 % from a yr earlier and marking the primary on-year rise in three years, amid a rise in demand amongst younger drinkers.
“The expansion in demand of wine and whiskey is a mirrored image of dwelling drinkers desirous to have one thing that’s supposedly greater grade than the frequent soju or beer,” an business insider mentioned.
A consultant at retail large Emart agreed, saying, “Gross sales of whiskey have elevated dramatically, because it has grown in style amongst younger shoppers.”
“Whiskey merchandise usually don’t show dramatic adjustments in gross sales because of greater value tags and robust alcohol ranges, however we’ve seen a rising development of younger folks sharing photographs of their highball drinks on Instagram,” he added.
To fulfill demand for extra range in alcohol energy ranges, firms have launched new merchandise with weaker alcohol percentages to cater to ladies and youthful shoppers preferring smoothness of their drinks.
The South Korean unit of London-based Diagio PLC, which owns the Johnnie Walker and Windsor whisky manufacturers, has launched W 19 and W Honey spirit merchandise, each with a lowered alcohol proportion of 32.5 %.
The South Korean subsidiary of France-based Pernod Ricard, which owns the Ballantine and Chivas Regal spirit manufacturers, additionally reported gross sales development of 31.6 % in 2020 and can also be largely anticipated to see elevated earnings for 2021.
Native beer and soju makers, which rely closely on provides to eating places and bars, are nonetheless struggling from the fallout of enterprise curfews. Hite Jinro Co., maker of the lager beer product Terra, for instance, suffered a 30.31 % loss in working revenue within the third quarter of final yr.
Therefore they’re making an attempt to offset additional dangers by now focusing their enterprise extra towards the patron retail market and in addition tapping the rising craft beer market to ship extra numerous and distinctive tasting merchandise.
Market chief Oriental Brewery Co., for instance, launched the Korea Brewers Collective, a sub-brand devoted to craft beer merchandise. Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. additionally began producing craft beer merchandise although an authentic tools producer (OEM) contract final yr.
With the quick unfold of the omicron variant, business watchers additionally anticipate firms this yr to adapt to altering market situations by presenting extra alternative when it comes to packaging sizes and selection in alcohol stage strengths of latest and current merchandise.