Pernod has blamed a drop in Imperial sales on a move to white spirits

Pernod has blamed a drop in Imperial sales on a move to white spirits

Scotch whisky sales in South Korea dropped last year as the country's economic problems continued to squeeze consumers, according to a report.

Category sales were down 13% to 16.7m litres in the 12 months compared to the prior year, Yonhap news agency reported today (8 January), citing industry figures. Yonhap blamed a consumer return to cheaper beer and soju for the drop, the Scotch category's fifth annual decrease in a row.

Pernod Ricard was worst affected, with Scotch sales down 23% year-on-year to 5.2m litres. The decline mirrored reported falls in the first-half of the year, when the French group's core Scotch brand Imperial posted a 21% sales drop.

In an interview with just-drinks last year, Eric Benoist, marketing director for Pernod's Scotch unit Chivas Brothers blamed a drop in Imperial sales in South Korea on consumer trends towards white spirits and single malt. Imperial sold 4.1m litres in the country last year, according to today's report.

Diageo remained South Korea's biggest Scotch company in 2013, with sales down 10% to 6.5m litres compared to the year before, it was reported. Diageo's imported Windsor brand again took top spot, reportedly selling 5.7m litres in the year.

South Korea's Lotte Chilsung Beverage was the country's third biggest Scotch maker, with its Scotch Blue brand down 16.5% year-on-year to 2.5m litres.