Japanese beer is the most popular import

Japanese beer is the most popular import

South Korea imported record volumes and value of beer in the first half of the year, according to local reports.

Beer imports increased by 28.5% to US$50.8m in the six months to June, Yonhap news agency reported this week citing data from the Korea Customs Service. The value was equal to 53,618 tonnes of beer, also the highest amount since records began in 2000.

Exports of beer by South Korea during the first six months of this year were flat, the data showed. This was the first time imports outpaced exports in terms of tonnage, according to the figures. 

For imports, the rise is reportedly being driven by consumers looking for new tastes and is expected to continue. "With more customers looking to try out new brands of beer, imported beer will maintain its popularity," an alcohol retailer was quoted as saying.

The figures show Japanese beer is the most popular import, with beer from the Netherlands, Germany and China coming next.

South Korea's beer exports during the first six months of this year were flat, the data showed.

In April, Anheuser-Busch InBev finalised its $5.3bn repurchase of South Korea's Oriental Brewery.