KOREA: Super premium brands driving Scotch market forward

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South Korea continues to be the hottest market in Scotch whisky at present, with the boom reaching new heights according to the latest figures.

January-August sales records, published in Korea Herald, show that sales of what the local market terms super premium (SP) level whiskey brands like "Ballantine 17," "Royal Salute" and "J&B Reserve" between January and August this year totaled 67,592 boxes (18x500-ml bottles), up 93% from the 35,014 boxes sold during the same period last year.

And sales of what Korean’s call deluxe whiskey such as "Ballantine's Masters" and "Imperial 15 Years" also grew 39.2% year-on-year to 217,846 boxes from 156,497 boxes moved during the eight-month period.

By contrast, sales of premium labels like Imperial Keeper (Jinro Ballantines) and Windsor 12 Years (Diageo Korea) added up to 1.93 million boxes, a mere 13.8% increase over last year's 1.70 million boxes.

And standard brands fared even worse. With the category, which includes brands such as "Something Special," falling 24.9% from 136,743 boxes last year to 102,694 boxes this year.

Meanwhile, total volume of whiskey moved during the first eight months of the year came to 2.32 million boxes, up 14.5% year-on-year

Companies: Ballantine’s, Diageo

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