Beer has had an increase in popularity in recent years in
Korea, especially with a falling tax rate for beer. In the early
1990s there were 3 major players in the Korean beer market who
were Hite Breweries, Oriental Brewery and Jinro Coors Brewing
Co. the maker of Cass. Oriental once owned the largest market
share in Korea sometimes nearing 70%. but by 1994 Hite had risen
to become the most popular beer. With Jinro Coors facing
financial hardship in the 1999 Oriental Breweries
purchased the struggling brewer and soon rose to a 51% market
share above Hite. More beer tax cuts are expected in the future
and many market experts expect good fortunes for the Korean beer
The other popular drink in Korea is a tradional drink called soju
which is a tasteless liquor similar to vodka or gin. There are other
types of wines made from rice, plums, herbs and even chrysanthemum or
ginseng that are also very popular.
Cass Breweries was taken over by Oriental
Breweries in 1999 who make OB larger and Cafri premium larger.
Cass is a 5.0% larger which is one of the 3 most popular beers
in Korea. Sold bottled or on tap in Korea its a fairly pale
larger reminiscent of many an Asian pale larger.
The Hite brewery is the largest of the South
Korean brewers, brewing 9 different beers including Hite, Hite
Prime, Hite Stout, Hite Exfeel (low cal beer) as well as being
the local maker of Fosters and Carlsberg. The Popular 4.5% Hite
is a micro filtered lager that has a fresh taste that also is
the first beer to include a thermometer mark on its label.
This 4.7% Lager has a light golden color and
a flavor reminiscent of many Asian beers that use rice in the
grain. Owned by Oriental Breweries there are 3 other types of OB
including a 4.4% new larger and light (low cal) as well as a non
alcoholic OB variety. Oriental also make the 4.0 % Cafri premium