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Gov`t Joins Campaign to Promote Makgeolli Abroad

Posted February. 11, 2010 09:07,   


The government yesterday announced that it will promote throughout the world makgeolli, a white and milky Korean rice wine.

By joining a campaign to promote makgeolli worldwide, the government aims to boost the consumption of rice and foster manufacturers of the wine through measures such as a cut in liquor tax, preferential treatment in quality certification, and subsidies to modernize facilities.

The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and the National Tax Service agreed to halve the liquor tax on makgeolli from five percent to 2.5 percent.

Under the quality certification system on traditional Korean alcoholic beverages to be implemented in the latter half of the year, makgeolli will receive a high grade to help boost consumption through government assurance.

Government subsidies for makgeolli facility modernization will first go to producers that use domestically grown rice to make the rice wine.

The ministry has obtained an additional budget of five billion won (4.3 million U.S. dollars) to help makgeolli producers that use domestic rice.

Such measures will be included in a law promoting the traditional liquor industry and taking effect after July.

A ministry official said, “The popularity of makgeolli has grown since last year, but the percentage of makgeolli using domestically produced rice is just 20 percent,” adding, “To foster makgeolli as a world-class alcoholic beverage and promote rice consumption, the government has come up with measures to assist the production of makgeolli with domestic rice.”

Strategies to keep the “makgeolli boom’’ that began last year going will include a design competition for a standard makgeolli glass and bottle. The winners will be announced in April this year.

The idea is to standardize the bottles and glasses used for makgeolli with designs based on traditional Korean culture to reduce production costs and advance to world markets.

The World Cup soccer finals in June will see events combining support for the Korean team with makgeolli promotion. In addition, 20 kinds of makgeolli will be introduced as the official liquor for a toast at Seoul’s Group of 20 summit in November.

The ministry official said, “The market for makgeolli is expanding with consumption growing 38 percent last year,” adding, “It’s time to present promotional and assistance measures for makgeolli to turn it into an export and cultural product by enhancing its quality.”

The government will also seek to enhance the quality of makgeolli. The place of origin labeling system will be implemented and the development of brewing technology, improvement in the distribution system, and management consulting will be used to get rid of makgeolli’s reputation as a cheap drink.