SEOUL– South Korea’s homegrown craft beer has increasingly gained popularity over recent years, industry data showed Sunday, as local brewers offer a wide range of flavors at competitive prices.

The local craft beer market was valued at 118 billion won (US$105.6 million) as of 2020, sharply up from 43.3 billion won in 2017, according to data by the Korea Craft Brewers’ Association.

Jeju Beer Company, based on the southern resort island of Jeju, was the nation’s leading craft brewer, booking 33.5 billion won in sales last year, the association said.

Local craft brewers have expanded their presence in the alcohol market as craft beers have become more widely available at convenience stores and supermarkets at competitive prices following a new tax code on beer.

A boycott of Japanese products here amid a trade row also affected the imported beer market, dealing a blow to Japanese beer.

South Korea’s imports of beer fell 9.3 percent on-year to US$280 million in 2019, marking the first on-year decrease since 2009, data by the Korea Customs Service showed.

The overall decrease also came as South Korea kicked off a new tax system on beer last year, which focuses on amount rather than an ad valorem tax, in a move to improve imbalances in taxes between imported and domestic beer, industry watchers said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency