Alcohol sales rising again after ferry disaster slump

By Park Hyung-ki
  • Published : May 15, 2014 - 20:45
  • Updated : May 15, 2014 - 20:45
Alcohol sales at local retailers were rising this month, coming out of a slump from nationwide mourning following a deadly ferry sinking in April, industry data showed Thursday.

E-Mart, South Korea’s largest discount chain operator, said its overall alcohol sales rose 14.8 percent during the first 13 days of May from a year ago.

Alcohol sales at the retailer had risen 1 percent during the 15 days after the April 16 sinking of the ferry Sewol that killed more than 280 people, most of them high school students who were on a field trip.

Alcohol sales at convenience stores during the first 13 days of May rose 10.5 percent over the same period last year, a similar sales growth rate to that in April before the Sewol sinking.

The sales growth rate had fallen to 7.8 percent in the 15 days after the ferry sinking.

“Alcohol consumption sharply shrank after the ferry Sewol disaster due to the mourning and restraining atmosphere,” an industry source said. “The longest holidays of the year in early May and early summer heat seemed to have pushed up sales of alcohol, especially beer.”

However, alcohol producers were still holding back from actively advertising, staying cautious since the ferry disaster.

Oriental Brewery and its rival Hite Jinro Co., both major local brewers, said they have yet to decide when they will resume their marketing activities, despite it being a high season for beer consumption as outdoor activities increase and major sporting events like the World Cup finals approach.

Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. debuted its first-ever beer product, named “Kloud,” in the middle of last month without any advertising campaign. (Yonhap)