Japanese brands top imported beer in S. Korea

SEOUL-- Japanese beer topped sales in South Korea's imported beer market this year, industry data showed Tuesday, amid the rising popularity of foreign beer here.

According to the data compiled by Lotte Mart, Japanese brands accounted for some 22.2 percent of imported beer sold at the discount store outlet of retail giant Lotte Group through Sunday this year.

Japanese beer also ranked first last year with a 21.5 percent share, followed by German beer at 19.9 percent and Belgium at 11.3 percent. Chinese beer accounted for 7.1 percent of the total imported beer sold at the outlets, according to Lotte Mart.

Beer from Germany took first in 2014 and 2015, but the proportion of its sales has been decreasing from 25.1 percent in 2015 to 19.9 percent last year and 16.6 percent this year.

The popularity of imported beer has been soaring in South Korea, taking up 51.1 percent of Lotte Mart's beer sales this year. The comparable figure for 2015 and 2016 were 34.5 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

South Korea's inbound shipments of foreign beer hit a half-yearly record of some 95,858 tons in the first half of 2016, up 34.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The country imported 170,919 tons in 2015, worth some US$142 million, up 43 percent on-year, according to the Korea Customs Service.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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