Whiskey sales in South Korea took another mauling in the first quarter of this year, according to industry sources. A total of 682,900 9-litre boxes were sold locally in the three-month period, a fall of 7.5% from a year earlier.

Whiskey sales in 2004 fell by 18% to 2.63m boxes.

Jinro Ballantines was the market leader with 35% of the market during the period, followed by Diageo Korea.

High-end whiskey sales were relatively less affected, as revenues of super-premium whiskey aged more than 17 years and premium ones of more than 12 years fell by 5% and 7% respectively. Sales of standard whiskey dropped by 38% during the quarter.

"Though they say there are signs of an economic recovery like a rise in revenues of department stores, the whiskey market has not seen any real sign of recovery yet," a source told Asia Pulse.