Soju Exports Reach Milestone, Surpassing $100 Million for First Time in a Decade

SEOUL — Exports of soju, South Korea's signature distilled liquor, have exceeded $100 million in 2023 for the first time in ten years, showcasing a significant rebound in its global market presence.

According to Yonhap News Agency, soju exports amounted to $101.4 million last year, marking an 8.7 percent increase from 2022. This achievement comes after a period of fluctuating export figures, with the last instance of surpassing the $100 million mark occurring in 2013. Soju, known for its blend of ethyl alcohol, water, and sweeteners, has traditionally been a favorite among South Korean expatriates. However, its appeal has broadened significantly to include a global audience, a shift attributed to the international popularity of Korean pop culture.

The resurgence in soju's overseas popularity reverses a previous downtrend observed in the industry, where exports declined from $97.6 million in a previous peak year to $82.4 million in 2021. The recovery began in 2022 with exports climbing to $93.3 million, setting the stage for the recent breakthrough.

Japan emerges as the top importer of South Korean soju, purchasing over $30 million worth of the beverage, followed by the United States with $23.6 million in imports, highlighting the growing international footprint of this traditional Korean spirit.

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