Diageo has taken top spot in South Korea's whisky market, according to local reports.

The UK drinks giant saw its whisky sales in South Korea surpass those of nearest rival Jinro Ballantines during the first half of the year, a report in the Korea Times newspaper said yesterday (15 August).

The paper quoted figures from unnamed sources that showed Diageo's whisky sales leaping 10% to over 460,380 cases during the period. A case contains 18 500ml bottles, the paper said.

Jinro Ballantines, a joint venture between South Korean distiller Jinro and Pernod Ricard saw sales dip 1% to 451,930 cases.

Officials at Diageo's Korean office could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press. Diageo's top-selling Scotch whiskies in South Korea include Dimple and Windsor, as well as global brand Johnnie Walker.

"There was under-investment in marketing in South Korea under Allied," a Pernod spokesman told just-drinks last month. The spokesman added: "We have a premium whisky brand there called Imperial and we believe another, Ballantine's, could also be very, very powerful."