Beer tops list of alcohol imports

SEOUL-- Beer was atop the list of South Korea's alcohol imports in the first seven months of this year, outpacing wine and hard liquor for the first time amid a change in the country's drinking culture, data showed Tuesday.

Imports of beer in the January-July period came to US$143.9 million, up 50.5 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

By country of origin, Japanese beer took up the largest share at $39.7 million, followed by Chinese at $20.7 million, German at $14.6 million and Belgian at $12.4 million, according to the data.

Imports of wine, which ranked first in 2015 and 2016, stood at $111.4 million during the cited period, up 4.6 percent on-year, the data showed.

Imports of whisky, which had been the most popular imported liquor in the country, fell to third place with $80 million, down 14.8 percent on-year, according to the data.

Imports of brandy stood at $1.8 million, a 15.5 percent decline compared with the stated period last year.

The popularity of beer has been soaring in South Korea with more individuals opting for light drinks instead of rounds of heavy drinking at night.

On the back of the increase in imports of beer and wine, the total amount of imported liquors in South Korea rose 10.5 percent on-year to $498.2 million, the data showed.

Exports of South Korean alcoholic beverages also rose 2.9 percent on-year to $210.6 million during the period, according to the data.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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