Korea’s largest beer manufacturer, Oriental Brewery, is to launch an original ale brand in April, throwing down the gauntlet to rival HiteJinro and Europe’s premium beer brands.
OB held a press conference on Wednesday to reveal Alestone, a British-style premium ale brand which will be launched on April 1.
Though the company has the manufacturing license for Hoegaarden, a popular Belgian white ale, Alestone is to be its first original ale, officials said.
The label “Alestone” is a combination of “ale” and “stone.” “Stone” is a suffix in the word “milestone,” and thus “Alestone” reflects the company’s determination to innovate the conventional ale market, according to officials.
Alestone will be offered in both Brown Ale and Black Ale, the former characterized by a rich aroma and a deep plum-brown color and the latter with a bitter taste and creamy texture.
The factory prices are set at 1,493 won ($1.39) per 330 ml bottle. Products will be available in 330 ml bottles, 355 ml cans and 500 ml cans.
OB’s ales are expected to compete with Queen’s Ale, the first local ale, launched by HiteJinro in September last year, as well as with imported brands such as Guinness.
“It is true that the local ale market is still limited, when compared to the lager market, and thus offers a tight competition,” said Alex Song, chief marketing officer.
“But the rising competition indicates the growing potential of the ale market and the diversification of the consumers.”