“The dwindling exports to Japan, the largest importer of makgeolli, reduced South Korea’s total exports of the alcoholic product. In the first 11 months of 2015, Korea’s total makgeolli exports nosedived to $11.68 million, down 77 percent from $52.73 million in 2011. The share of exports to Japan dropped from 91.8 percent in 2011 to 51.4 percent last year.
The fall in exports to Japan also caused Korea’s makgeolli production to drop. According to Statistics Korea, local makgeolli production rose from 214,069 kiloliters in 2009 to 387,724 kl in 2010 and to 443,151 kl in 2011. But the output tumbled to 383,395 kl in 2012 and to 376,696 kl in 2014.
The local makgeolli industry is now turning its eyes to markets other than Japan. Exports to China, the second largest overseas makgeolli market following Japan, rose 44.9 percent from $1,272,000 to $1,843,000 in the same period. Exports to Hong Kong and Taiwan are also showing high growth of over ten times, although the amounts are not big at present. Exports to Hong Kong rose from $39,000 to $455,000 while those to Taiwan swelled from $16,000 to $167,000…
Despite sluggish exports, Japan is still the largest makgeolli market, so it is difficult for the local makgeolli industry to give up. Makgeolli makers are making efforts to create new demand in Japan by developing new products with lower alcohol degrees and adding various fruit fragrances.”
Read the whole Korea Herald article here.