About this time last year, Yonhap News published an article quoting Bae Young-ho, CEO of Baesangmyun Brewery, as saying, “he wishes to have 300 microbreweries, in spaces as small as three square meters, in the capital city to revive the home-brewing culture that thrived until the 1960s…” Ambitious? Yes. Actionable? It seemed a grand dream but unlikely due to its scope. Well, I was wrong! From Jin Eun-soo’s article in Korea Joongang Daily:
Bae Young-ho, CEO of Baesangmyun Brewery, has taken on an unprecedented challenge in Korea’s traditional liquor industry. The founder of Korea’s leading traditional liquor manufacturer will share his knowledge and techniques on how to make and sell makgeolli, Korea’s traditional rice wine. His intent is to develop more makgeolli makers and expand the market size. But it means that he could be giving up the secrets of 30 years’ experience making and selling traditional liquor in Korea…
The Dongnaebangne Brewery Project, which launched last month, helps applicants acquire licenses to make and sell alcohol and learn the techniques of makgeolli brewing. The alcohol was named after the neighborhood where the brewer is located and will be sold to wholesalers, who will then distribute the liquor to nearby pubs, restaurants and supermarkets. What’s made in the neighborhood stays in the neighborhood, the company says. It is similar to how beer microbreweries operate.
“If sharing ideas on a common platform is something that only our company is thinking about, we would not survive with this system,” Bae said. “However this is the global paradigm. Korea’s liquor market needs a paradigm shift in order to take Korea’s traditional liquor to the next level,” he added.
So far, eight breweries have launched under the project and Bae plans to open 100 within the year. Bae thinks his latest project will give birth to the next-generation “star” makgeolli brand…
“The Dongnaebangnae Brewery Project is open to anybody, even those living abroad,” Bae says. “Just like foreign people are selling craft beer in Korea, we can do the same with makgeolli in foreign countries.”
He is looking forward to introducing the project in Paris, New York and even Nairobi in the next couple of years.
Read the whole Korea Joongang Daily article here.