Move over Honey Butter Chips, Flavored Soju Has Arrived!
Korean people are known for their love of trends, be it fashion, music, plastic surgery, or even food. The Honey Butter Chip–wait, better said, Honey Butter everything craze is now beginning to wind down in Korea but there’s always a hot new trend ready to take over Korea!
A new trend has taken the country by storm–fruit flavored soju!
Soju is Korea’s spirit of choice. Soju is a rice based liquor that is found in every corner of Korea. It’s popularity is so immense that over 3 billion bottles of soju are consumed in Korea every year!
This past March, Lotte Chilsung, Korea’s second largest producer of soju, released a special edition citron flavor of their popular “Cheoeum Cheoreom” (처음처럼; Like the First Time) brand soju named “Sunhari” (순하리). “Sunhari” also has an alcohol content of 14%, which is lower than the usual 17%-40% of traditional soju.
In just two months since its initial release, 1.5 million bottles (and counting) of “Sunhari” have been sold. Its popularity, and subsequent rarity (which is reminiscent of Honey Butter Chips) have grown across Korea. The demand for the special soju was so large that Lotte Chilsung began cranking up production of Sunhari at both their Gunsan and Gangneung factories.
In response to the growing popularity of flavored soju, Muhak, Korea’s third largest producer of soju, jumped on the boat and released three flavored soju products as a part of their “Joheun Day” (좋은데이; Good Day) brand soju. They are named Joheun Day Red, Yellow, and Blue. Red is a pomegranate flavor, Yellow is a citron flavor, and Blue is blueberry flavored. The three flavored varieties of “Joheun Day” have sold over 2 million bottles across Korea in just two weeks since their release.
Meanwhile, Hite-Jinro, Korea’s largest producer of soju, is watching from the sidelines, but might be poised to release their own specialty line of soju this Summer.
For those in Korea, or visiting Korea soon, go ahead and give flavored soju a try! You might just become part of this craze growing in Korea! The writer of this post has personally tried all 4 varieties of flavored soju, and can honestly say they’re quite delicious–but be careful when drinking them, they bite!