Among simple cocktails, a highball is one of the most popular cocktails enjoyed by young consumers. Highball, a Japanese-style alcoholic cocktail that is based on an alcoholic spirit and a larger proportion of non-alcoholic base ingredients including soda and lemon juice, is favored because it is easy to make and come up with unique and tasty combinations. Whisky is widely used as the base alcohol of a highball.
According to South Korea's customs office, imports of whisky in May 2023 reached 14,169 tons worth $109.5 million, up 56 percent and 12 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. The import volume of wine in May decreased by 11 percent on-year to stand at 26,176 tons.
Whisky, which is more expensive compared to beer and Soju, traditional Korean liquor, was regarded as luxury goods in South Korea. The foreign spirit was normally served to important guests. Whisky was mainly consumed by people in their 40s and 50s at luxury bars and adult entertainment bars. However, the number of young home drinkers who seek their own unique cocktail recipes increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and highball also became popular.
According to South Korea's retail giant Shinsegae, sales of whisky at Shinsegae Department Store franchises in the first quarter of 2023 increased by 65 percent on-year. About half of whisky consumers were in their 20s and 30s, according to the retail giant.
Young consumers favor single malt whisky compared to blended products. During the last few years, it was a trend for young people to show off via social media that they are drinking single malt whisky. Blended whisky is still popular among whisky lovers and those who like to drink "the bomb," a simple cocktail of beer and whisky.
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