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Whisky market shrinks for 8th consecutive year in 2016

All Headlines 13:40 January 05, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's whisky market suffered a setback for the eighth straight year in 2016, industry sources said Thursday, amid protracted economic doldrums and the introduction of an anti-corruption law adversely affecting the country's hospitality culture.

Whisky sales declined 4.5 percent to 1,669,587 boxes of 18 500-ml bottles last year from a year earlier, according to the sources.

The figure has fallen gradually since 2008, when a record 2.84 million boxes were sold.

The sources attributed the decline to the slowing economy and the anti-graft law that took effect in September to ban businesses from treating government officials, teachers and journalists to expensive meals and drinks.

The lion's share of whisky is consumed in room salons, or luxury bars, in the affluent southern district of Gangnam in Seoul.

"The whisky industry needs to change its policy on a fundamental basis as the culture of consuming whisky in room salons has been changing rapidly," a source said.

Whisky market shrinks for 8th consecutive year in 2016 - 1

Diageo's Windsor topped the sales list with 609,999 boxes last year, followed by Golden Blue's 369,461 boxes.

Golden Blue, a homegrown whisky brand with low alcohol content and a cheap price tag, witnessed a whopping 31.1 percent sales growth.

Pernod Ricard's Imperial came in third with 356,261 boxes last year, down 19.5 percent from a year earlier, falling to third for the first time since its debut in South Korea in 1994.

Lotte Liquor Co., a liquor unit under Lotte Group, which released Black Joker Mild, a whisky with 25 percent alcohol in July, became the fourth-biggest seller with 183,199 boxes.

William Grant & Sons Korea Ltd. came in fifth, buttressed by the popularity of Green Jacket with 36.5 percent alcohol, which was released in April.

Whisky market shrinks for 8th consecutive year in 2016 - 2

hdh@yna.co.kr
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