BWS and Dan Murphy’s have doubled their range of Asian beverages in stores following an increase in customer demand, and now offer more than 100 drinks to choose from.
“Customers are increasingly looking for more discovery, more new and interesting drinks to try. Drinks made in Asia are particularly popular among premium customers, especially Zoomers and Millennials,” Endeavour Group Asian Beverages sourcing manager Samuel Lam said.
Korean drinks are leading the trend, with Soju having enjoyed one of its strongest year-on-year growth performances, according to sales data from Endeavour Group, the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s.
Soju dates back to the 13th century and accounts for 97 per cent of the South Korean liquor market. It has attracted global attention after being featured in Squid Game, and ‘Glass of Soju’ from movie Parasite was nominated for Best Original Song at the 92nd Academy Awards 2020.
“Aussies are enjoying Korean drinks like Soju and Makgeolli, which coincides with the growing interest in Korean food as well as South Korean pop culture,” Lam said.
“It is the variety of flavours that really makes this much-loved beverage popular. You can discover everything from blueberry or lychee to Americano!”
Makgeolli is one of Korea’s oldest alcoholic drinks, and is a lightly sparkling drink that is made from rice, water and a starter known as nuruk. In Korea, you can order Makgeolli on tap in small ceramic bowls.
“Makgeolli shows up in many K-dramas, which is why we are seeing some great interest in this uniquely flavoured drink,” Lam said.
Japan’s national alcoholic beverages Sake and Shochu are popular in Australia, with sales of Shochu having almost doubled in BWS and Dan Murphy’s in the last 12 months.
“Customers are turning to Shochu because it has a unique flavour and is a spirit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Shochu also tends to have a lower ABV and calories than many other spirits like vodka,” Lam said.
Shochu is an ancient Japanese spirit that can be made from a range of vegetables and grains, which means there is a wide variety of flavours to be explored. Koji, a type of fungus, is used in the fermentation process that can give Shochu a unique umami flavour, often described simply as ‘savoury’.
“When it comes to flavour, Shochu is best described as somewhere between a whisky and vodka, it has an earthy and savoury flavour. It can be enjoyed on its own or on the rocks with its mild sweetness, or you can add your favourite mixer to it,” Lam said.
Sake also remains popular in Australia, and Endeavour Group is adding another 12 sakes to its retail stores in July, which will almost double the sake range. Six of these new sakes are Junmai Daiginjo sake – the most premium expression of sake (between $40 to $150).
“Aussies are enjoying exploring more premium expressions of sake, in particular Junmai Daiginjo sake which is the highest grade of sake. Junmai Daiginjo sake is best enjoyed chilled to enhance the subtle aromas and flavours,” Lam said.