Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The march of makgeolli and other tales of the World Cup

According to the Korea Times,
Makgeolli has gained immense popularity over the past year, which is partially explained by the economic downturn that had drinkers looking for cheaper beverages.

This devastated the markets of whisky, wine and soju, Korea's traditional distilled beverage, and also served a severe blow to the sales of beer. Plus the abnormally chilly spring this year appears to have prevented drinkers from switching predominately to beer until recently.

The beer market posted a meager 0.5 percent growth last year, while the market for makgeolli grew by more than 40 percent. Market watchers predict that the beer market will grow by a more-healthy 5 percent this year, thanks in large part to the World Cup jolt.
That's pretty impressive growth, but I wonder what the makgeolli market has been like over the last decade.

The Joongang Ilbo has an article about the street cheering that accompanied Korea's first World Cup game against Greece that includes this photo:

The last time I remember seeing a Korean flag that big in front of city hall, the crowds were also tearing to shreds American flags (as related here). Oh, wait, there's no city hall in the above photo, is there?

I've looked at the 2002 World Cup before here (this photo taken at the Korea-U.S. game is rather interesting), and at the street cheering during the 2006 World Cup here. For Korea's first game of the 2010 World Cup, I was in Sinchon, which was rather festive after Korea's victory:

That truck then blocked the street at the big crosswalk in Sinchon, and if we hadn't found a little side street, might have trapped us in our taxi trying to escape the crowds for who knows how long. Apparently the revelry has been a boon for retailers, with a surge in sales of certain items:
GS25 chain stores also reported brisk sales on Saturday, with the ten branches near large-scale cheering spots registering three times the revenue as the week before. After the game, sales of condoms jumped five times more than during the 2006 World Cup.
More on that here. Oh, and once again, another World Cup, another World Cup girl (after Shin Mina in 2002, and the 'elf girl' in 2006). Mind you, one is never enough for the photographers of the Chosun Ilbo. And my word for the day: vuvuzela.

Here's a fact I didn't know about North Korea's sports teams:
Previously, South Korea had sponsored all expenses needed for North Korean teams when they participated in international sport events. But the North's provocative act caused South Korea to stop subsidizing North Korean teams in international sports events.
Speaking of whom, the first half of their game against Brazil just finished. Though Brazil has been in control of the Ball 2/3 of the time, and has had more shots on net, the score is 0-0. It seems North Korea's defense, defense, and more defense (and hope that Jong Tae-se gets the ball in Brazil's end) has been serving them well enough.

Ehhh. 27 minutes into the second half Brazil is now up two goals. Time to go back to sleep.

[Update] They actually scored [open that in a new window - it resizes your browser] and managed to prevent a third goal... surprising stuff.


Unknown said...

and ROK had promised to provide North Korea with access to world cup coverage. It revoked that offer as well.

Unknown said...

I saw Seo Mi watching a drama about makeolli this year too. I wonder if that had any influence.

matt said...

I wouldn't be surprised. Any idea what its name was?