BWS and Dan Murphy’s have doubled their range of Asian drinks in stores following an increase in customer demand and now offer over 100 drinks to choose from.
“Customers are increasingly looking for discoveries, new and interesting drinks to try. Beverages made in Asia are especially popular with premium customers, especially Zoomers and Millennials,” said Samuel Lam, Head of Sourcing, Endeavor Group Asian Beverages.
Korean drinks lead the trend, with Soju having one of its strongest year-over-year growth performances, according to sales data from Endeavor Group, the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s.
Soju dates back to the 13th century and accounts for 97% of South Korea’s liquor market. It captured worldwide attention after being featured in Squid Game, and Parasite’s “Glass of Soju” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 92nd Academy Awards 2020.
“Australians enjoy Korean drinks like Soju and Makgeolli, which coincides with the growing interest in Korean cuisine as well as South Korean pop culture,” Lam said.
“It’s the variety of flavors that makes this popular drink so popular. You can discover everything from blueberry or lychee to americano!
Makgeolli is one of Korea’s oldest alcoholic beverages. It is a slightly fizzy drink made from rice, water and a starter known as nuruk. In Korea, you can order Makgeolli on tap in small ceramic bowls.
“Makgeolli appears in many K-dramas, which is why we see great interest in this unique-tasting drink,” Lam said.
Japan’s national alcoholic beverages Sake and Shochu are popular in Australia, with sales of Shochu nearly doubling at BWS and Dan Murphy’s in the past 12 months.
“Customers turn to Shochu because it has a unique flavor and is a spirit that can be enjoyed in many different 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 are a wide variety of flavors to explore. Koji, a type of mushroom, is used in the fermentation process which can give Shochu a unique umami flavor, often described simply as “tasty.”
“As for flavor, Shochu is best described as somewhere between a whiskey and a vodka, it has an earthy, savory flavor. It can be enjoyed on its own or over ice with its smooth sweetness, or you can add your favorite blender to it,” Lam said.
The sake also remains popular in Australia, and Endeavor Group is adding 12 more sakes to its retail stores in July, which will nearly double the range of sakes. Six of these new sakes are Junmai Daiginjo sake – the most premium expression of sake (between $40 and $150).
“Australians like to explore more expressions of premium sake, especially Junmai Daiginjo sake which is the highest grade of sake. Junmai Daiginjo sake is best enjoyed chilled to enhance subtle aromas and flavors,” Lam said.