World’s Biggest Booze Brand Barely Registers a Blip in States
on 20/07/11 at 1:46 pmIndustry
But Jinro, Marketer of South Korean Soju, Aims to Go Mainstream Here.
The biggest spirits brand in the world barely sells a drop in the U.S. — and most Westerners have probably never heard of what’s in the bottle — a clear-colored booze called “soju” that fervent supporters swear won’t give you a hangover.
But that’s not stopping South Korea-based Jinro Limited from trying to grow its presence in the states, reaching beyond its traditional base of Korean-Americans. Jinro dominates in South Korea, keeping it atop the latest ranking of global spirits brands by global volume sold, according to Euromonitor International and Drinks International. In the U.S., the category is so small that Nielsen does not even track it.
Jinro began making moves in the U.S. back in 1986 when it opened an office in Seattle and then later moved to Los Angeles. But the brand has only lately begun a big marketing push here, hiring an ad agency, sponsoring events, and getting product placements in music videos. Jinro is “slowly stepping into the mainstream,” said Patty Kang, an account director at Adwell Communications, a small L.A. shop that is the brand’s ad agency. But “we know it’s going to be a long battle.”