Whiskey price

“The controversy over the price of low-alcohol whiskey is meaningless”

By Jhoo Dong-chan
Golden Blue The Diamond

For several years, the popularity of low-alcohol flavored drinks has had a significant impact on the country’s beer and soju markets. The trend has also affected the whiskey market, proof that Korean consumers are changing their taste when it comes to alcoholic beverages.

Spearheading the low-alcohol whiskey market in Korea, local whiskey brand Golden Blue ranked second in market share since last year, outnumbering Pernod Ricard Korea, the local branch of the second-highest. great distiller in the world.

Differentiating its products with a 36.5% reduced alcohol per volume (ABV) level from existing Scotch whiskey brands including Windsor by Diageo and Imperial by Pernod Ricard, Golden Blue grew 46% last year in volume production compared to the previous year.

Such skyrocketing sales volume growth was considered extraordinary as the Korean whiskey market has experienced a 31% drop in production volume in the past six years since 2010, according to the Korea Industry Association of Whiskey. alcohols and alcohols.

However, the success of Golden Blue sparked controversy in the country’s whiskey industry, as some critics claimed the whiskey was classified as a distilled water-based and malted barley drink containing an ABV level. 40% or more as defined by the Scotch Whiskey Association. The quality of Golden Blue whiskey is therefore inferior to existing Scotch whiskeys, and should not be as expensive as others on the market.

However, Golden Blue’s marketing director, Park Hee-jun, said such debates about ABV were “meaningless.”

“Golden Blue has continually tried to expand its consumer groups,” Park said.

“As part of the company’s efforts to satisfy more potential consumers such as women’s and youth groups, the company has launched whiskeys with lowered ABV levels. It was a huge success.

Golden Blue has also been criticized for products that are not age indicated, whereby some claim the company is intentionally hiding substandard distillation. Diageo and Pernod Ricard specify the number of years of aging for their products, such as 12 or 17 years.

But Park refuted, saying that indicating the number of years of aging is not an absolute indication of the quality of a whiskey.

“The year of aging is only one of many indications to assess the quality of the whiskey. But the whiskey is not only a question of years. Their quality must also take into account many other variables, in particular the flavor. and the quality of the water. Golden Blue decided not to stick to the year of aging but sought a whiskey that satisfies not only older consumers, but also young people and women. “

A 33-year-old whiskey enthusiast, nicknamed Hyun, praised the company’s decision.

“I love whiskey but he had a skewed perception of alcohol for the elderly,” Hyun said.

“With the low-alcohol whiskeys without a one-year declaration, I can now enjoy them with friends or on a date. I don’t even have to embarrass myself ordering an older whiskey at a bar. “

Following this trend towards low-alcohol whiskeys, market leader Diageo launched W Ice by Windsor, a premium spirit drink with a 35 percent BAC, in March.

Rival company Pernod Ricard, which initially decided to persist in the production of traditional strong alcohol products, belatedly launched last July a low-alcohol fruit-flavored spirit, Eclat by Imperial.

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