South Korea’s wine imports nearly doubled in the first eight months of 2021 from a year earlier as more people enjoyed drinking at home and alone amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed.
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Asia’s fourth-largest economy imported US$370.5 million worth of wine from January to August, up 96.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service and industry sources.
The figure surpassed last year’s imports worth about US$330 million and exceeded those of beer, which amounted to US$147.8 million in the eight-month period.
Industry sources said wine imports soared in the first eight months as people preferred drinking by themselves at home instead of going to bars amid the coronavirus pandemic.
France was the largest exporter of wine to South Korea at US$116.2 million, followed by the United States at US$61.04 million, Chile at some US$57 million and Spain at US$28.65 million.
In contrast, beer imports dipped in the first half as imports of Japanese brands tumbled on a boycott of goods from the neighbouring country due to Tokyo’s curbs on exports of key materials to Seoul.
Also responsible was the growing popularity of homegrown craft beer among local drinkers, according to the sources.
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South Korea’s beer imports fell to US$226.9 million last year from US$281 million in 2019. In particular, imports of Japanese brands plunged to US$5.7 million last year from US$39.8 million, according to the data.
(Source: Korea Times)