Kooksoondang (CEO Bae Jung-ho) announced on Oct. 12 that it has started selling Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli at two stores of Costco in Hsinchu and Xizhi in Taipei, Taiwan, from Oct. 2. This is the first time for Korean rice wine makgeolli to sell in overseas Costco stores.
The company has been preparing for a year to pass a globally strict screening of Costco to open stores, and finally succeeded in supplying its products to one of the largest retailers in the world after its production facility in Hoengseong was examined in Aug.
Kooksoondang is planning to open 12 Costco stores in Taiwan and to promote the Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli as a major export item by ultimately selling the product in Costco in neighboring countries in the future, based on successful experience.
In particular, it is more meaningful to sell the product in Costco in Taiwan since it is a draught makgeolli, or saeng makgeolli, which is not pasteurized. Draught makgeolli costs more than pasteurized makgeolli to be distributed since it needs to be transported by refrigerated containers, but it has a unique taste and contains high levels of lactic acid and lactobacillus bacteria.
The company’s total amount of makgeolli exports in the first half of this year stood at US$2 million (2.29 billion won), up 5.5 percent from US$1.9 million (2.17 billion won) in the same period last year. As for the cumulative figures in the first half of the year, draught makgeolli accounted for 78 percent of total exports.
Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli was exported to 12 countries as of the first half of last year, but it is now exported to 15 countries this year, adding Guatemala and Cambodia. The major export items of the company are Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli and WooKookSaeng Makgeolli.
Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli has been steadily winning awards at international wine competitions, being recognized around the world. The product received the bronze medal at the 73rd Annual Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition in May, the silver medal at the 35th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition in June, and the silver medal at the Melbourne International Wine Competition 2015 in July.
Kim Sung-joon, head of the overseas business team at Kooksoondang, said, “The fact that Kooksoondang Saeng Makgeolli is now selling at Costco stores overseas is meaningful, because Korean draught makgeolli has paved the way for export in large quantities. We are planning to expand the exports of draught makgeolli, which has a unique taste and selling points, in the future.”