HiteJinro`s beer factory in Masan
HiteJinro Co, a leading beer and distilled rice liquor soju manufacturer of South Korea, will employ its beer brewery in Masan for soju distillation instead of selling the facility.
The company in a regulatory filing on Wednesday said that it was scrapping the plan to sell its brewery in Masan and will instead renovate it to distill soju, the traditional best-selling Korean spirit, to up supplies and sales of its Chamisul brand in southern region.
Amid struggling sales of local brands against a flood of foreign produces in the beer market, the company planned to sell one of three Hite breweries. Losses from beer business accumulated to nearly 100 billion won ($93.5 million) over the past four years, and its breweries ran 44 percent of their capacity last year.
“We cannot ignore urges from Masan resident to keep the factory open. We will instead run the facility as soju distiller,” stated the company. The Masan brewing equipment will be moved to the brewery in Jeonju.
The company expects increased soju production in Masan would not only boost its production efficiency but help better branch out to the southern part of Korea where local brands are usually preferred.
Currently, the company has soju distilleries in the central and northern part of the country - Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province and Iksan, North Jeolla Province. Jinro-brand soju has topped the list of most-sold liquors in the world for several years, underscoring how much the spirit is drunk by Koreans.
Shares of HiteJinro closed Wednesday down 0.95 percent at 20,900 won.
By Kim Byung-ho and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]