S.Korea's whiskey imports jump over 70% amid pandemic

by IANS |

Seoul, Nov 22 (IANS) South Korea's whiskey imports soared more than 70 per cent in the first 10 months of the year as more people drank at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, data revealed on Monday.

The value of the imports amounted to $93.21 million in the January-October period, up 73.1 per cent from a year earlier, Yonhap News Agency quoted data from the Korea Customs Service and the local liquor industry as saying.

It represents the first on-year increase in the country's whiskey imports since 2014.

Industry sources attributed the surge to the fact that a growing number of people have been drinking at home amid the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

South Korea's whiskey imports had been on the downturn since peaking at $264.6 million in 2007.

The downturn followed the implementation of the country's draconian anti-graft law in 2016 and a 52-hour workweek in 2018.

Tough social distancing measures were also responsible as many bars in Seoul were forced to shut down.

The jump in the imports thus helped foreign whiskey makers' local subsidiaries perform far better this year.

Pernod Ricard Korea also saw its turnover spike 31.6 per cent on-year to $101 million in fiscal 2020 (July 2020-June 2021), with its operating profit shooting up 66.9 per cent.

Sales of Diageo Korea Co., the South Korean unit of British alcoholic beverage company Diageo Plc, edged down 3.6 per cent in the same fiscal year, but its operating income soared 85 per cent.

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