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Jinro’s UK festival sponsorship marks historical move for Korean spirit

Korean spirit brand Jinro soju is set to become the sponsor of Luno presents All Points East festival this month.

The move, which is the first time that a Korean spirit brand has supported a major UK festival and follows HiteJinro Co’s steady investment in the UK.

The Jinro soju brand has, as a result, seen a 26% increase in purchases by local consumers compared with Korean residents since 2018 and has noted how this is largely owing to the acceleration of the UK’S Millennial and Gen Z consumer appetite for the flavoured range of Jinro, ‘Chamisul’.

The festival sponsorship is part of ongoing investment in the UK market to increase distribution and awareness of the brand which currently sells 850 million bottles per year – equal to 27 bottles per second, globally.

Luno presents All Points East will play host to Jinro’s two-floor bar themed on a giant case of Jinro where festival-goers can step into an oversize world, featuring a neon bar, a Polaroid Zone. Additionally, there will be purpose-built spaces for fans to freshen up and prize-led games based on traditional Korean games.

Mr Hwang, managing director at Hite Jinro said: “We are very proud to be the first Korean spirit brand to sponsor a major UK festival. The sponsorship is part of our strategy to introduce our soju brand to the local UK market and with Jinro’s ethos of positivity and our lower ABV flavoured ‘Chamisul’ range a festival is the ideal market entry for the summer season.”

Hwang explained: “The UK consumer’s appetite for the flavoured range of Jinro, ‘Chamisul’, has increased at 51% compound annual growth rate since 2018 and has accelerated over the past two years with the Chamisul range taking the category market share of 63% in 2021.”

Krista Booker, communications director of Fourteen Ten Agency who represent Jinro in the UK, revealed: “The key to Chamisul’s impressive increase in sales in the UK was down to alignment to the local consumer. While soju is very well known within an existing demographic our strategy is to take the flavoured soju to a new audience and showcase its relevance to the local Millennial and Gen Z consumer, while maintaining relatable elements of the brand make up.”

Hwang added: “We have pulled the market towards the local consumer and as such seen a 26% increase in purchase by local consumers compared with Korean residents. Our goal is to push that margin further and create a legitimate space for soju on its own merit in the western market.”

Jinro’s festival sponsorship follows a national campaign with Honest Burgers that aligned with traditional consumption of Jinro alongside food.

However, the festival tie-up precedes a new distribution network that will take soju beyond traditional on-trade outlets serving a predominantly Korean and Asian client base and into outlets serving a typical British audience. The company has stated that its eventual goal is to see Jinro stocked in major retailers outside specialist stores in the UK.

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