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The Best Article I've Ever Seen on the Korean Beer Industry
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More US beers fill shelves By Kim Jae-won

Korean grocery store shelves are now stacked with American beer, one of the most visible changes brought upon by the Korea-U.S. Fair Trade Agreement.

Microbrews like Great White and Indica, previously available only at bars in trendy leisure districts, are now easily bought at discount chains E-mart and Home plus.

Importers said they decided to sell these products at those stores to make them more available to consumers and the free trade deal pulling down the prices also factored into their decision.

``We are happy that we have found a way to introduce our products to consumers more easily. There is a market for premium U.S. beers as the appetite for beer begins to differentiate and an increasing number of consumers are looking for something better than watery Korean brands,’’ said Byeong Jin-yong, a manager from Brewer Masters International, which imports 23 different craft beers from the U.S.

She said the company is proud of spreading “high-end” beer culture here, where local lager has dominated for decades.

“Lager is based on being cool and its freshness, while U.S. ales are more focused on taste. They have more abundant taste as they use about five to 10 times the hops compared with local lagers,” said Byeon.

Consumers have welcomed the expanded choice, in particular, American expats.

“Wow, I was almost crying to see U.S. beers in a Home plus outlet in my neighborhood. I thought it was maybe thanks to the Korea-U.S. FTA, though I was not a big fan of the trade pact,” said a Boston-born office worker who has lived in Korean for the last four years, declining to be identified further.

As premium import beers gain more popularity here, local firms are also rushing to import them. Oriental Brewery, a local beer company, said earlier this month that it started to sell Stella Artois at Home plus from Jan. 15 to expand its presence here.

It was only previously available here at bars and restaurants. Stella Artois is a premium Belgian lager which claims a 600-hundred year history and is sold in more than 80 countries.

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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supply creates demand.

Korean conglomerates have the supply side sown up - albeit not as much as they used to - and for some reason have chosen to produce what is, to my knowledge, the worst beer in the world.

Koreans have grown up with this, got used to it, and often prefer it, so there's a demand. This is starting to change as there is more variety on the supply side, and pretty good Korean microbrews are already being produced.
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Joined: 08 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the hangover that Korean beer exacts upon its victims. If I drink more than five sang maekju (draft beers) at the bar, I will feel it until nearly 10pm the next day. However, if I drink the same amount of the cheap German party beer they sell at Emart, I feel fine the morning after. The difference is stunning. And then, if I switch back to Korean beer, I notice that it has an almost chemical taste to it. It's as if they put soju in the beer prior to bottling it to beef up the alcohol content.

In a perfect world, they would stop importing all the tasteless pilsners from all over the world and start importing craft beers. I was floored when I first came here and saw the bar was selling Miller for 7,000 won.
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