hitejinro jinro soju

Soju producer HiteJinro targets global spirits dominance

09 July, 2020

Soju producer HiteJinro says it wants to become a leading global spirits company like Diageo and Pernod Ricard starting with the complete distribution of its soju around the world.

The company’s flagship brand Jinro was the number one selling spirit in 2019 according to Drinks International’s The Millionaires’ Club having grown 11% to reach more than 86m 9-litre cases.

Hwang Jungho, executive managing director at HiteJinro, told Drinks International that while sales are doing well in Korea the company has its sights set oversees in order to grow further.

“Considering Korean domestic market situations, we have no choice but to make all the efforts for the growth of soju in the global market,” said Hwang.

Jinro’s largest oversees market is Japan where Hwang believes the brand has successfully localised sales over the past 40 years with 90% of its soju purchased in the country being consumed by Japanese residents.

But the company’s number one priority is south east Asia where it introduced Jinro soju to Vietnam in 2016 followed by different flavoured varieties, which Hwang believes is proving popular in the area.

“We are fostering strategic countries for the globalisation of soju based on the size and growth potential of the market, most of which are those of the ASEAN region, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand,” added Hwang.

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“Ultimately, through the localisation of soju in western countries such as the US, Russia and European countries, we will complete the globalisation of soju, which is our final goal.

At this time, all the employees at headquarters and overseas corporations are striving to make HiteJinro become a leading company in the global spirits market, just like Diageo and Pernod Ricard.”


While the future of the company looks oversees, the domestic market is still vital to the company’s success and according to data supplied by HiteJinro, the market size of soju has remained relatively consistent over the past five years while the brand’s market share has spiked 10% since 2015 to reach 57.6%.

In 1924 the abv of its soju was 35% which has gradually declined over the years to reach 16.9% in 2020, which the brand believes is responsible for maintaining its volumes in Korea.

Meanwhile in 2019, HiteJinro increased its sales and market share through its two main brands; Chamisul and Jinro, strengthening its position as the leading company of alcoholic beverages in Korea.

As well as a variety of seasonal releases of Chamisul, the launch of Jinro with a new bottle design reflecting the style once used in the 1970s and 80s, has proved popular with both young and middle-aged consumers as part of Korea’s ‘Newtro Trend’ - a combination of new and trendy.

This successful rebrand saw the sales of more than 100m bottles in seven months which had a major contribution to the overall sales of the company, the success of which will be used to fund further oversees advertising and initiatives.

Keywords: jinro, soju, hitejinro

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