Endeavour Group’s BWS and Dan Murphy chains have doubled their range of Asian drinks after seeing a spike in consumer demand. The liquor stores now offer more than 100 beverages from all over the world.
According to the company’s recent sales data, Korean drinks are leading, with soju having the strongest year-on-year growth. Other Asian beverages gaining traction include makgeolli, sake, and shochu.
“Customers are increasingly looking for more discovery, more new and interesting drinks to try,” said Samuel Lam, Asian beverages sourcing manager for Endeavour Group.
“Drinks made in Asia are particularly popular among premium customers, especially Zoomers and Millennials.”
Soju is a clear, distilled Korean liquor from rice or other starches like sweet potato or tapioca. It dates back to the 14th century and accounts for 97 per cent of the South Korean liquor market. The drink comes in various flavours, from blueberry to mango and even a Yakult version.
“Aussies are enjoying Korean drinks like soju and makgeolli, which coincides with the growing interest in Korean food and South Korean pop culture,” explained Lam.
Another Korean alcoholic drink, the makgeolli, is a light sparkling beverage made from rice, water, and a starter known as nuruk.
“Makgeolli shows up in many K-dramas (Korean dramas), which is why we are seeing great interest in this uniquely flavoured drink,” Lam added.
The company said Japanese spirits like sake and shochu are also popular, with sales of shochu having almost doubled in the past year.
Shochu is a Japanese spirit made from a range of vegetables and grains. It uses a koji fungus during the fermentation process that gives the drink a “unique umami flavour”, often described as “savoury”.
The company added 12 sake brands to its stores this month, and six of these new sakes include Junmai Daiginjo sake – the most premium expression of sake that has an RRP between $40 to $150.