As strange as it sounds, CEO of Kooksoondang brewery Bae Jung-Ho wants just that. An article recently ran in the Korea Times about the need for more competition within the makgeolli market. Makgeolli still has a bit of an image problem, and it’s predominantly seen as the cheap liquor of Korea. Not many brewers or companies spend money on advertising or for promoting their products, and so competition is not so high. Even something as simple as packaging (makgeolli almost always comes in the same plastic recyclable bottle) doesn’t do much for its image. Lack of competition means a lack of consumer interest, which is not so great for the industry in general. A better image for makgeolli would mean better products and greater market stimulation.
Maybe you have noticed the new ‘Daebak 대박’ makgeolli hitting the shelves? This is Kooksoondang’s recent attempt at trying to revive popular interest in Makgeolli. They hired ‘Theives’ actress Jun Ji-Hyun as its spokesperson, which cost the brewery a cool one billion won ($1 mill), equating to 1% of their annual revenue.
Recently we were interviewed by KBS about makgeolli, and one of the questions that came up was what advice would we give to brewers for popularizing makgeolli. Mamas & Papas all agreed that advertising and information is key to reaching a wider consumer market, and improving the image not just of makgeolli but makgeolli culture. There is still so much we don’t know about various makgeollis, methods, regions and taste profiles.
But we aren’t deterred by makgeolli’s image problems, we love it just the same 🙂
For the full article check it out here, it’s a really interesting read with some great historical info about Korea’s traditional liquor production.
What do you think about the image of makgeolli? Do you like the packaging? What do you think brewers could do to boost makgeolli popularity? Comment below and tell us what you think!