Posted : 2012-06-13 15:24
Updated : 2012-06-13 15:24

Korean soju is world’s most popular spirit

This article is from koreaBANG, a website that follows popular or trending topics on the Korean internet. For netizen comments and more articles like this one, please visit

A brand of soju, South Korea’s tipple of choice, has topped a worldwide ranking of most-sold spirits, beating vodka, whisky and brandy to remain the most-drunk spirit in the world.

Not only was soju number one, it was also number three. Jinro‘s Chamisul maintained its position in the top spot with Lotte’s Chum-churum coming a close third, losing out on second place to some pesky vodka.

Soju ranks first and third place in the global spirits sales rankings of 180 brands. The amount of soju sold is 5 times that of Johnnie Walker (Whiskey).

The two top Korean soju brands Chamisul and Chum-Churum took first and third place, respectively in the rank of spirits sold around the world. Chamisul has topped the list ever since 2001 and Chum-Churum has been in the third place ever since 2007. Since soju is mostly sold in Korea, it’s surprising that it’s beaten vodka, whisky and rum which are sold around the world, to top the rankings for the 12th year so far.

Alcohol-specialist magazine Drinks International with international survey specialist Euromonitor International produced the sales ranking of 180 international spirits brands from last year’s sales. At the top of the list (known as the Millionaires Club) was Jinro soju, 61,380,000 boxes (9 liters per case) sold, which is far ahead and nearly 2.5 times that of American (sic) vodka brand Smirnoff, 24,700,000 cases. Chum-Churum from Lotte Liquor was ranked in the third place with 23,900,000 cases sold, at a small difference to Smirnoff.

Adding the sales volumes of Jinro and Lotte Liquor together gives 85,280,000 cases, which is 5 times that of Johnnie Walker (18,000,000 cases), a familiar whisky brand. This was beyond compare to the sales of other spirits well-known in Korea, such as the Swedish vodka Absolut (16th place with 11,210,000 cases) and American Whiskey Jack Daniels (19th place with 10,580,000 cases). Sales of Ballantine’s, a famous whiskey brand, only amounted to 7.5 percent of total soju sales, with 6,470,000 thousand boxes.

Hamish Smith, a Drinks International journlaist, said in an interview with the Daily Mail of the U.K. that “Jinro soju at the top of the list has scored more than double that of the second place brand, which makes it impossible for most spirit brands to catch up with it.” Out of the total manufactured volume, 94 percent or more of Jinro soju and more than 96 percent of Chum-churum are sold to a domestic market, labelling the brands typically “local.” Five brands of soju were in the top 20 ranks in last year’s survey (based on 2010 sales records), which included Cham soju from Kumbokju (11th), White from Muhak (14th) and C1 soju from Daesun Distilling Co. Local Korean spirit brands are ranked within the top 20, thanks to the Korean culture of heavy drinking.

According to the WHO survey of amounts of alcohol consumed in its 188 member countries in 2005, Korea ranked 13th in the world. However, Korea topped the rank of the amount of alcohol consumed in spirits such as soju and whisky, with 9.57 liters. This means that the amount of hard liquor consumed by Koreans, not wine or beer that is often consumed during meals, is the highest in the world.

관련 한글 기사

한국 소주 판매량, 낯뜨거운 '세계 1위'

한국인이 마시는 술 소주가 세계에서 가장 많이 팔린 증류주(sprits) 조사에서 보드카, 위스키와 브랜디를 물리치고 1위 자리를 지켜다.

소주는 1위 뿐만 아니라 3위도 차지했다. 진로의 참이슬은 줄곧 1위를, 롯데의 처음처럼은 3위를 놓치지 않고 있다.

세계에서 가장 많이 팔린 증류주(sprits) 조사에서 소주는 세계 180개 증류주 브랜드 가운데 1위와 3위를 석권했다. 소주의 판매량은 조니워커 위스키의 5배에 달한다.

참이슬은 지난 2001년 조사에서부터 줄곧 1위를, 처음처럼은 2007년 조사부터 줄곧 3위를 놓치지 않고 있다.

거의 한국에서만 팔리는 소주가 전 세계 시장에서 팔리는 보드카•위스키•럼 등을 제치고 세계 증류주 판매 1위를 12년째 지키고 있는 것은 놀라운 일이다.

  • 1. K-pop star Rain, top actress Kim Tae-hee to marry
  • 2. Health alerts issued as fine dust blankets Korean Peninsula
  • 3. Japan blasts S. Korea's plan for 'comfort women' statue on Dokdo
  • 4. Korean man abducted in the Philippines found dead
  • 5. Analysts against arrest of Samsung heir
  • 6. GM Korea introduces all-new Chevy Cruze
  • 7. Ex-top presidential aide, culture minister grilled in corruption scandal
  • 8. Comfort women were Japan's shocking human rights violations: Lippert
  • 9. Ban Ki-moon haunted by awkward slip-ups
  • 10. Moon Jae-in extends lead after Ban's return: poll