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Soju sales share in the alcoholic beverage market South Korea 2013-2019

In 2019, around 33.9 percent of total alcoholic beverage sales were Soju. Soju is a traditional Korean spirit. Soju is a clear distilled spirit with and alcohol content between 16 to 53 percent. It is traditionally made from rice, wheat, or barley, but is also often produced from potatoes or sweet potatoes. South Korea produced around 1.36 million tons of Soju in 2018.

Market leaders

The market is dominated by cheaper brands that produce Soju for the masses: According to a survey, Chamisul Fresh by HiteJinro was the Soju brand respondents consumed the most, followed by Like The First Time, also often stylized as Chum Churum, by Lotte. Chamisul had a market share of around 27.3 percent in the overall spirits market in South Korea in 2017. While Soju is traditionally a clear spirit, companies started to shake up the market by producing Soju with different flavors, such as peach, apple, or grape.

Soju’s popularity

Even though producers recently bumped prices, Soju is still a relatively cheap alcohol. A large number of cheaper soju brands sell their spirit in green 350ml glass bottles which can be found for around 1.50 U.S. dollars in most stores. This might be one of the reasons for Soju’s popularity: In a survey in March 2019, around 23 percent of respondents stated that they consumed Soju once or twice per week. Industry reports have shown that South Koreans older than 20 years consumed an average of around 1.6 bottles of Soju per week in 2016.

Share of Soju in total alcoholic beverage sales value in South Korea from 2013 to 2019

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Release date



South Korea

Survey time period

2013 to 2019

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Statistics on "Alcoholic beverages market in South Korea"

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