Low Alcohol, Healthy Premium Liquor, Makgeolli
Attracts Chinese Consumers with Its Fresh and Simple Taste
Think of some countries—the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan, for example—and try to evoke the names of their representative alcoholic drinks. Whisky, beer, wine, and sake will probably come to your mind. How about Korea? Most people associate Korea with makgeolli (Korean rice wine), which is receiving attention around the world as a healthy alcoholic drink. This is thanks to abundant nutrition in the form of proteins, vitamins, and the anticancer substance farnesol. Makgeolli has been enjoying a boom in many countries since it became known that Korean stars such as Jang Geun-suk, Gyu-ri of KARA, Super Junior, Jeon Ji-hyun, and Chinese actress Tang Wei like makgeolli very much. The makgeolli craze has spread across Japan and ASEAN.
Recently, this liquor has been spotlighted in China, a country whose drinking culture is over 1000 years old. What is the secret behind the high popularity of makgeolli in China?
Concerned about their health, more and more Chinese people are looking for a liquor with a low alcohol content. With a variety of merits—a clear milky color, 5-6 percent alcohol content, and low calories—makgeolli is an alcoholic beverage perfectly suited to the healthy lifestyle trend in China. It has stolen many Chinese hearts as a choice liquor that won’t get you heavily drunk but rather lets you enjoy a drink agreeably. Makgeolli with some fruit juice is becoming increasingly popular among young Chinese consumers as a drink that looks sophisticated and can be enjoyed in a trendy scene, just like a cocktail.
Makgeolli: A to Z
1. Makgeolli, Different from Chinese Rice Wine or Huang-chiew
Rice is the main ingredient of makgeolli. For this reason, some Chinese think it is similar to Chinese rice wine. But it differs in that makgeolli is made through fermentation. Its nutritional value is very high because it is rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals; all of which are formed during the fermentation.
2. Sterilized Makgeolli or Non-Sterilized Raw Makgeolli—Pick According to Your Preference
Makgeolli can be largely categorized into sterilized makgeolli and non-sterilized raw makgeolli. The difference is in the absence or presence of lactobacilli. Sterilized makgeolli has a clean taste and long storage period, whereas raw makgeolli contains plenty of lactobacilli, which is good for digestion and defecation.
3. Makgeolli’s Price Is Competitive, Never Too Expensive
Makgeolli is not expensive. The price may be somewhat higher than local products but that’s because makgeolli is imported. In fact, it is cheaper than many Chinese people would think. The average price is CNY25.
4. Effective for Skin Care and Diet
Makgeolli contains amino acids—such as lysine, methionine, and histidine—that are believed to make the skin taut. It is also rich in vitamins B2 and B6, which help to restore and whiten the skin.
In addition, this rice wine is good for the people on a diet. It does not contain many calories: just 46kcal per 100ml. This is very low compared to the calories in the same amount of other liquors—such as wine (70-74kcal) and whiskey (250kcal).
Whatever You Are Looking for, You Can Find the Makgeolli That Suits Your Taste
-Sunhui Makgeolli produced by Bohae Brewery Co., Ltd.
The virtue of Sunhui Makgeolli is that it keeps a fresh taste and fragrance for a long time. Thanks to the special technique used to produce it—the sterilization is applied at a low temperature and after the ripening period—the staleness is reduced while the taste becomes more refreshing. In addition, the product is fermented with the aspergillus invented by Bohae Brewery Co., Ltd., so it has a very soft taste. What’s more, the basis is the natural bedrock water extracted from 253m underground. / Alcohol 8%, volume 375ml
-ME3 produced by Woolisool Co., Ltd.
ME3 is a functional sport drink that uses amino acids to help relieve fatigue. The distinctive smell that develops in the process of makgeolli fermentation has been removed through the deoxidization method called “de-aeration.” What’s more, ME3 is only 3 percent alcohol, so even light drinkers can easily enjoy it. The product comes in two types: ME3 Blue (made only with rice) and ME3 Green (made with rice and yuja [Korean citron] juice). Other types, such as ME Red and ME Black will be released soon. / Alcohol 3%, volume 350ml and 500ml
-Tangy Rice Makgeolli produced by Woolisool Co., Ltd.
This makgeolli contains carbonic acid to give a refreshing sensation. It feels similar to soda. Thanks to the special technology used to produce Tangy Makgeolli—such as a unique sterilization process and steaming rice at a low temperature—the product doesn’t cause a hangover or headache. At one tasting event, it received favorable evaluations for the soft taste with a proper amount of acid.
According to a member of the Woolisool staff, this product is made with rice cultivated specifically for making makgeolli. He added, “Thanks to the ingredients, you can actually feel the terroir.” (Terroir is the set of special characteristics such as the geography, geology and climate of a certain place interacting with plant genetics and being expressed in agricultural products.) / Alcohol 6%, volume 950ml
-Jyusirak produced by Woolisool Co., Ltd.
Jyusirak has earned many fans especially among the non-Koreans who dislike the smell and taste of the original makgeolli and among young women who prefer sweet alcoholic drinks. There are three types of the product: with rubus coreanus fruit, apple, and pear. Thanks to the fruit juices, Jyusirak has a sweet taste and fruity fragrance. All the juices are made from Korean fruits to ensure food safety. / Alcohol 6%, volume 750ml
-Icing produced by Kooksoondang Brewery Co., Ltd.
Icing of Kooksoondang Brewery Co., Ltd. has received a myriad of awards and honors around the world. This makgeolli won the bronze medal at the 2012 Dallas Morning News Wine Competition and silver medals at the San Diego International Wine Competition and at the 10th Wine Consumer Competition. It also received a two golden star Superior Taste Award from the International Taste and Quality Institute in 2013.
This makgeolli uses grapefruit fruit juice instead of synthetic sweeteners. The fruit juice makes the taste of Icing sour and very refreshing. Thanks to the distinctive technique called “super cooling,” the product has a more refreshing taste and higher amount of carbonic acid than other makgeolli brands on the market. These characteristics make it very popular in Korean bars. / Alcohol 4%, volume 350ml
- Buja Purple Sweet Potato Rice Wine produced by Baehaejung Doga
Made with only Gyeonggi rice and purple sweet potatoes from Yeoju County, this makgeolli has an excellent antioxidant effect and is rich in dietary fibers. It was selected as an official liquor of the Korea-Japan summit in 2009. /Alcohol 8%, volume 375ml
- Buja Grape Rice Wine produced by Baehaejung Doga
To develop this product, BHD used its original knowhow and the recipes for making makgeolli with rice and grapes that date back to the Goryeo period (918-1392 A.D.). Songsan grapes add a delicate scent to the flavor of Buja makgeolli. /Alcohol 9%, volume 375ml
-Taktail produced by Baehaejung Doga
This cocktail-type product was developed for young consumers. Taktail is a combination of “cocktail” and “takju”—one of the names for makgeolli. Taktail comes in five different types: banana, grape, black raspberry, strawberry, and plum. The product won the second prize at the 2011 Korea Liquors Contest. /Alcohol 7%, volume 375ml
Inquiries: Kooksoondang Brewery Co., Ltd.
Inquiries: Baehaejung Doga
Inquiries: Woolisool Co., Ltd.
Inquiries: Bohae Brewery Co., Ltd.
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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