Imported beers outperform domestic brands in Korea

July 17, 2014

Beer imports hit record-high level in the first half
Japanese beers most popular, followed by Dutch

Imported beers are getting increasingly popular in Korea. (Newsis)

Imported beers are getting increasingly popular in Korea. (Newsis)

South Korea’s beer imports reached a record-high level in the first half of this year, exceeding the nation’s beer exports.

Beer imports to the country surged 28.5 percent on-year to US$50.8 million during the January-June period, the highest figure since comparable numbers were first made available in 2000, according to data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.

In terms of tonnage, the imports logged a record high of 53,618 tons during the period, up 29.2 percent from the year before, the data showed.

The records were set early in the peak season that continues through August.

Imported beers outsold local brands during the World Cup also.

Industry watchers say imports may well exceed $100 million by the end of the year.

Imported beer, whose tonnage has increased more than 15 times since 2000, has continued to flourish in the local market on the back of a growing preference for new tastes among consumers here.

Imports of Japanese beer came to 13,818 tons, accounting for the largest portion of the figure at 25.8 percent. The list was trailed by the Netherlands, Germany, and China at 8,887 tons, 7,825 tons and 5,067 tons, respectively.

South Korea’s beer exports during the first six months of 2014 remained unchanged from last year at 53,451 tons, marking the first time for imports to outpace exports in terms of tonnage, according to the data.