South Korea: Beer prices hike in response to raised subsidy for empty bottles

Retail chains in South Korea, like E-Mart, Lotte Mart, CU, GS25 and Seven Eleven, will raise the price for beer and soju by 5-7 percent in average. Soju, a distilled beverage with 18% to 45% alcohol by volume containing ethanol and water, is very popular in South and was long considered a “national drink,” before consumer tastes leaned toward low-alcoholic drinks like beer.

The price hike comes in response to a recent government decision to raise a subsidy for empty beer and soju bottles. Consumers receive now 130 won (10.8 US cent), which is 80 won (6.6 US cent) more than before, when they return an empty bottle of beer. For an empty bottle of soju, they receive now 100 won (8.3 US cent), which is 60 won (5.0 US cent) more than before.

The new increase in prices comes just months after South Korea’s two largest breweries, Oriental Brewery Co. and Hite Jinro, raised their beer prices by an average 6 percent and 6.33 percent, respectively.

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