Tsingtao beer (pic: Tsingtao)

Tsingtao beer (pic: Tsingtao)

Adult Koreans drink 83 bottles of beer a year, nearly two bottles a week and the biggest supplier for imported beer to the country is none other than its Asian neighbor.

Of all the imported beer to South Korea in the month of October, China successfully tops the list, as consumer sentiment towards Chinese products thaws post pandemic.  

According to data from the Korea Customs Service, US$31.16 million of Chinese beer was imported into the country in October, the highest total for imported beer from one country for the month.

The recovery is a stunning rebound from 2020 when the Covid pandemic first hit China, causing widespread fear and consumer reluctance to purchase made-in-China products including beer.

As the world walks out of Covid fear, consumer sentiment towards Chinese products improved in South Korea.

Koreans are famous for their high per capita alcohol consumption. According to data from the country’s National Tax Service (NTS), the average Korean adults drank 53 bottles of soju and 83 bottles of beer last year, which equals to one bottle of soju and nearly two bottles of beer a week.

Besides pickup in Chinese beer imports, South Korea also recorded an increase in Japanese beer imports following the country’s campaign to boycott Japanese products after relations between the two Asian neighbors soured over high-tech exports and World War II disputes.

Japanese beer imports amounted to about US$11.56 million this year, up 107% from the same period last year.

Despite the growths seen from Chinese and Japanese beer, South Korea’s overall beer imports dropped. Last year total beer imports amounted to US$223.1 million, down 1.7% from the previous year, the lowest recorded amount in five years since 2016.

Domestically produced craft beer consumption however is on the rise, so are imports for wine and whisky.

Last year, wine imports amounted to US$506 million, up 53% from 2020 at US$330 million.

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