Traditional Liquors Diversify, Enrich Tastes in Korea

Earlier this year, we heard whispering of changes in Korean liquor laws which could be huge for the craft brewing industry. In effect, the production minimums for breweries has been significantly lowered making it possible for burgeoning brewers with a business plan to potentially make their mark on the industry. The Korea Herald article that explains it all reads like part history lesson and part motivational speech. Hopefully, this leads more away from poorly-made, mass-produced brews to something made with quality ingredients–something a bit more crafty! From Joel Lee’s Korea Herald article:

But the trend is changing. Similar to the way craft beers and wines are percolating through the Korean market, traditional drinks — of which there were once more than 300 kinds — are regaining their foothold in the fine-grained marketplace, albeit slowly.

The big change came in February, when the government amended a liquor tax law to allow restaurants and microbreweries to make and sell their own beverages. The revised law greatly lowered the bar for small time traditional brewers’ entry into the market by including traditional drinks in the list of microbreweries with a production capacity of 1,000 to 5,000 liters. 

According to Ryoo In-soo, chief of the Korea Homebrew Laboratory, interest in the national beverages is growing, although it has not reached the peak level of 2011, when the drinks were much sought after in Japan and Korea on the back of the Korean Wave… Contending the fan base that led to the 2011 peak has not evaporated, he argued the industry should make efforts to reinvigorate their enthusiasm.

The renewed fervor can also help create jobs and startups like small-scale restaurants and food trucks, as these businesses do not require much capital, he said. The burgeoning legions of creative chefs in Korea can benefit by producing and selling their food and drinks together, vitalizing the local culinary scene and culture, the chief added. 

Read the whole Korea Herald article here.

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