By Park Si-soo
A Busan-based soju maker said Sunday it had shipped 24,000 bottles of Daesun soju in the first batch of exports to Canada.
Daesun Distilling Co. said it was making another 24,000 bottles for the Canadian market as the demand for the distilled Korean liquor grows there.
The products are the same as those for the domestic market in alcohol content (16.9%) and bottle size (360ml).
Canada is the first country in North America to import Daesun soju formally. Daesun said it would ship soju to the United States from the second half of the year.
Daesun already has an extensive overseas sales network covering China, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Indonesia and Malaysia will be added from the second half of the year.
Another soju maker, Muhak, started exporting its Good Day soju from 2010 and has 40 importing countries, including China and Vietnam.
Hite Jinro, the biggest soju maker, exported soju worth $53.84 million last year, up 12.5 percent from 2017. It recently opened offices in Vietnam and the Philippines.
"Soju's clean and neutral taste is something many foreigners love to enjoy again and again," said an industry insider.
"The hallyu phenomenon has certainly given a boost to overseas demand for Korean food and liquor. And soju makers are trying to cash in on the trend."