International Wines and Spirits Expo 2016

When it rains it pours!  If you haven’t already marked your calendars for the Makgeolli Festival at Goyang, or the Korean Traditional Liquor and Food Festival at Namsangol, then you might as well do that and add another!  One of the biggest events of the year in the alcohol industry is happening for a short three days starting on Thursday this week.

Held at COEX, this exhibition shows wines, spirits, sake and yes of course Korean traditional alcohol! There will be exhibitors from 200 companies spanning 20 countries.  We know first hand that there are some artisan brewers showcasing at the exhibition, so if you have any time feel free to get over to COEX and show them support…and of course taste some truly excellent brews!

Wine and spirits expo


Industry Show Days:   Thursday April 20th – Friday April 21st

Public Day:  Saturday April 22nd

Time:  10am – 6pm (5pm on Saturday)

Where:  COEX Exhibition Centre

Cost:  20,000won

For more details on how to get there and what’s going on visit here.

The spring season for makgeolli festivals and expos continues!!


2015 October Makgeolli Festival! [UPDATED]

Jarasum Jazz 2

The 29th October to 1st of November…

Save the date in your calendars and clear you schedule as we have some exciting news for you!

Anyone who has followed our antics for a while will know that the last Thursday of October is designated as ‘Makgeolli Day’ and around that time there are always a number of festivals dedicated to Makgeolli hosted around the country which offer entertaiment, free samples and opportunities to buy all kinds of great stuff from every corner of Korea.  This year will see one of the biggest Makgeolli festivals yet, hosted by the Makgeolli Association on the beautiful Jarasum Island – which also hosts the Jarasum Jazz Festival!

Festivalguideasia pic
Courtesy of Festival Guide Asia

Makgeolli Mamas & Papas will be working together with Makgeolli Makers and Susubori Academy to bring a variety of activities and stalls to the festival, allowing guests to taste, talk, make and learn about makgeolli.  Some things to look forward to will be:

         Expat Makgeolli Tasting Booth – Hosted by MMPK
  • English speakers will be able to have unlimited tastings of a full range of makgeolli, with English guided assistance of MMPK staff.  Visitors can not only taste, but also learn about each brew from experienced makgeolli staff.
          Makgeolli Brewing Experience – Hosted by Susubori Academy & Makgeolli Makers
  • Visitors who would like to learn the basics and fundamentals of brewing makgeolli will be able to take part in an ‘Intro to Brewing Makgeolli’ class, led by expat brewing instructors Makgeolli Makers & Susubori Academy.  The class will be held several times over the weekend.
         Annual Expat Makgeolli Brewing Contest – Tasting
  • Each year, experienced members of the expat makgeolli brewing community compete in the Susubori Academy Expat Brewers Competition.  Visitors at the festival will be able to have tastings of the contestants brews.
Brewing Competion 1
Participants of the 2014 competition.
         Makgeolli Scavenger Hunt
  • Visitors will be able to take part in an Expat Makgeolli Scavenger Hunt, completing a range of challenges for prizes.  Details to be confirmed closer to the date.

As well as our little part of the festival guests can also expect to experience a wide range of makgeolli, traditional liquor and hearty food, from a variety of producers and breweries from all over Korea. Camping will also be available for guests, so you can make the most out of the weekend. If you have a passion for makgeolli, or are looking for a memorable way to spend a beautiful fall weekend in the countryside, then come along!

We will update here on our site and on our Facebook pages as more details become available closer to the date, and we really look forward to meeting you all out there in Jarasum!

Date:      October 29th – 1st November, 2015
Where:   Jarasum Island Camping Ground
Cost      To be confirmed (Will be either free or under 5000won)

Fest 1

Have you visited Jarasum or been to any of the other Makgeolli Festivals in Korea? Why not share your experiences in the comments here, or on our Facebook Community!

Makgeolli Shelf Life Extended to 100 Days

Now this could be a step in the right direction.  Fresh makgeolli currently only has a shelf life of around 30 days due to the fermentation process.  Any longer than that and it starts to taste quite sour and bitter….but not in a good way.  According to the Korea Food Research Institute, this could all change as they have found a way to extend the storage life of makgeolli to 100 days.  This could be mean big things for the export market, as previously it hasn’t been worthwhile to ship and stock overseas buyers with the short lifespan.

Korea Times Mak

We’re not experts on what this new way of brewing could mean for the taste or integrity of makgeolli, but it’s still good to hear that there is research being done into improving methods.  In the meantime, a good tip when buying makgeolli at your local supermarket is to check the top of the bottle.  Fresh makgeolli always has the bottled date and the expiry date printed, so you can know what stage of shelf life it is in.   If a bottle has a printed shelf life of a year or more….you can be pretty certain it’s not fresh and has a serious cocktail of chemicals keeping it going.

Check out the article in the Korea Times here.

What do you think about this new extension?  Good idea or bad idea?  Leave us a comment below and tell us your opinion!


‘If Samsung Makes Makgeolli’

Kooksoondang CEO
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.

jun ji hyun
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.

Daebak Makgeolli
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!

Snake Makgeolli to Celebrate 2013

It’s the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Snake, and to celebrate premium makgeolli company Baehyechongdo (배헤정도) has come up with their very own ‘Snake Makgeolli’. The company started the series in 2010 with a ‘Tiger Makgeolli’, the following year a ‘Rabbit Makgeolli’ and of course last year’s ‘Dragon Makgeolli’.

The unique features of this makgeolli is they use 100% Gyeonggi (경기) rice, and their unique processes retains the essential amino acids and high levels of dietary fibre. The alcohol content is also 10%, much higher than the usual 6%. Mageolli portal site Jurojuro (주로주로) manager said “We need to spread the culture involve makgeolli to society, to make makgeolli globalized even faster”. He also mentioned that the Chinese Zodiac Makgeolli Series is a limited edition and has a high collection value.


To read the full article in Korean you can check it out here

Have you tried Snake Makgeolli? Or any of the other Zodiac Makgeolli Series? Let us know what you think!

Makgeolli’s Makeover – Wall Street Journal

We get all a flutter when we see makgeolli making the headlines, especially when it graces such publications as the Wall Street Journal!  This piece by Andrew Salmon in the Korea Realtime blog  made some really great points about the direction of makgeolli.  The trendy boom has died down somewhat, and makgeolli is now establishing itself as here to stay.  It’s popularity overseas, especially in Asian countries, is something that we are hearing more and more about.


One part of the article  in particular that resonated with us is how to describe makgeolli in English.  Traditionally it gets called ‘Rice Wine’ though in reality it’s much more like ‘Rice Beer’.  We talk about it often, and these days Mamas & Papas tend to agree that even ‘rice beer’ doesn’t quite do it.  Makgeolli is just so unique, that eventually it should just be known as ‘makgeolli’, as there’s just nothing else like it!

We are very excited to see such good press for our favorite drink!

Check out the full article here.

Makgeolli Mamas & Papas: Connoisseurs of Makgeolli

Recently we had the good fortune of being interviewed by Jon Dunbar at about MMPKorea.  He joined us at our Mowmow Itaewon meeting, and had a chance to see what Mamas & Papas is all about.  We are very excited to tell you that the article is now up on the site, and we couldn’t be happier about it!

The article will be translated into 8 different languages, so we are very grateful for the awesome exposure, and we hope it reaches many existing and potential makgeolli lovers out there.

Thanks again Jon, and we hope to see you again at the Mamas & Papas makgeolli table!

Check out the full article here.