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Exports of traditional Korean rice wine plunge

South Korea’s exports of traditional rice wine, or makgeolli, plunged by more than 75 percent last year compared to five years ago, according to a market report Monday.

Last year, outbound shipments of Korean rice wine fell to $12.87 million, down by 75.6 percent from 2011, when combined shipments reached their highest level of $52.74 million, according to data compiled by Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade. 


The figure for this year is expected to go down further, as exports of Korean rice wine came to $11.1 million between January and November, down by 4.6 percent on-year, the report showed.

The declining shipments of Korean rice wine are in contrast to Japanese rice wine, or sake. Last year, annual exports of sake came to $143.61 million, up 30.2 percent on-year, according to the data. Exports of the Chinese alcohol baijiu also grew by 172.7 percent to reach $467.89 million during the same period.

The downturn of Korean rice wine is due to its low price, said the report. The average price of exported makgeolli was $0.99 per liter last year, while the comparable figures for sake and baijiu came to $7.28 and $28.65, respectively.

By Shim Woo-hyun (

Korea Herald daum