Southeast Asia is emerging as a burgeoning market for Kooksoondang's makgeolli, or traditional Korean rice wine.
The company exported makgeolli and traditional liquor worth US$711,000 (776.06 million won) to the Southeast Asian region last year.
The figure is a 52.5 percent increase from US$466,000 (508.64 million won) in 2013 and a 381.6 percent increase from 2010.
The main products exported are the company's unrefined makgeolli “Kook Saeng Mak,” makgeolli cocktail “iCing,” fruit-based makgeolli “Nature-inspired Makgeolli,” and ginseng-based makgeolli “Mimong.”
Kooksoondang secured the local network with more than 100 sales outlets in each major Southeast Asian country such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The reason why Korean makgeolli is so popular in Southeast Asia is that it is considered to be a high-quality alcoholic beverage being sold in department stores and hotels. In particular, the cocktail-like canned makgeolli iCing is popular with younger customers, the company said.
The first exports of iCing amounted to US$47,000 (51.3 million won) to the Southeast Asian region in 2013. The figure last year jumped 87.3 percent from 2013 to US$88,000 (96.05 million won). Accordingly, there are great expectations for iCing as a new makgeolli export.
Hong Kyung-sun, manager of the International Development Department at Kooksoondang, said, “As makgeolli has received a favorable evaluation as a high-end alcoholic beverage in the local market, it has become easier to expand the distribution channels to large markets and convenience stores. By developing specialized products for Southeast Asia, we will strengthen the promotional activities in the market.”