Diageo Korea turns eyes to beer market

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Diageo Korea is turning its eyes to the beer market to cope with consumers’ changing tastes, the chief executive of the Korean unit of the global beverage maker said Sunday.

Diageo plans to release another Irish ale beer as early as next month to expand its presence in the sector. Sales of Irish dark beer brand Guinness grew 47 percent last year from a year ago.

“We expect big growth in the imported beer market based on Guinness’ amazing contribution and the launch of Smithwick’s, which boasts three hundred years of tradition,” said Kim Jong-woo during a dinner meeting with reporters in this German city.
Irish ale Smithwick’s, whose debut in Korea is set for late October, is expected to lure into the fold various consumer groups, such as women and young adults, the Diageo Korea chief said.

Awarded six gold medals at Monde Selection, one of the world’s three most authoritative liquor tasting competitions, Smithwick’s originates from Ireland’s oldest operating brewery.

According to industrial data, Japanese brand Asahi topped the imported beer market in Korea in the first half of this year, accounting for 28 percent. The brand pushed aside longtime leader Heineken from the Netherlands to second place by 2 percentage points. Miller of the United States came third with 20 percent, while Guinness ranked fourth with one tenth of the market.

Meanwhile, Kim also unveiled that its trademark whisky brand Windsor became one of the 14 strategic brands from its headquarters in July 2010.
“To be a strategic brand is a meaningful event. The performance of Winsor is mentioned in the annual report every year and gets special attraction from headquarters.”

Kim Young-jin, a manager of the company, said that Windsor’s global recognition proves both Winsor’s current performance and potential for growth in the future.

Kim Jong-woo, having led the company for the last four-and-half years, said that Windsor has been gaining greater popularity in China since 2009 and is expected to reach sales of 100,000 cases this year in the world’s second-largest economy. For the Chinese market, one case contains six bottles, and each bottle contains 700 milliliters.