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Favored whiskey brands of ex-Pres. Park see resurgence

Posted January. 11, 2013 06:14,   


An office worker in his 50s last month bought a bottle of the whiskey Chivas Regal for a year-end party with his friends, saying, “Since Park Geun-hye has been elected president, we talked about our past memories over a bottle of Chivas Regal.”

Domestic retailers say many Koreans bought the preferred whiskey brands of Park`s father, former President Park Chung-hee, to drink or give as gifts.

Lotte Mart on Thursday said sales of Chivas Regal and Royal Salute, two brands that the former president is said to have liked, shot up in November and last month from the same period a year earlier.

According to Lotte Mart, sales of Chivas Regal rose by 9.5 percent year-on-year over the period, while that of Royal Salute went up by 14.3 percent. The most popular vintage was 12 years for Chivas and 21 years for Royal. Chivas had seen a sales drop of 2.1 percent and Royal 0.3 percent in September and October last year before seeing an upturn from November.

Sales of the two whiskey brands also rose at the discount chain E-Mart. “While Macallan, a single malt whiskey, was the most popular item in the year-end whisky market, Chivas Regal and Royal Salute also showed double-digit growth in sales,” an E-Mart source said.

In contrast, Valentine and the Johnny Walker series, the two most popular whiskey brands among Koreans middle-aged or older, saw sales drop. Valentine saw a dip of 0.7 percent and Johnny Walker 23.8 percent over the final two months of last year.

Both Chivas and Royal are linked to former President Park. He was drinking the former when he was assassinated by the head of intelligence on Oct. 26, 1979. Park Jun-gyu, chairman of the then ruling Republic Party, bought a bottle of Royal on his return home from a trip to the U.S. as a present for the president, who later shared it with his staff. Former President Park often drank alcoholic drinks enjoyed by laymen but also enjoyed the two high-end whiskey brands.