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Barrell Craft Spirits bets on South Korea’s thirst for whisky

Louisville-based Barrell Craft Spirits has announced its entrance into the Asian market via a partnership with distributor UOT in South Korea.

Barrell Craft Spirits bets on South Korean whisky thirst

Barrell Craft Spirits has announced that it has officially launched its spirits portfolio in South Korea.

Launched in 2013, Barrell Craft Spirits brands cover cask strength whiskey and rum.

The company will work with UOT as its brand-building distribution partner for both on- and off-trade in South Korea.

Joe Beatrice, founder of Barrell Craft Spirits, said the company was excited to launch the brand into its first Asian market in partnership with UOT. He said: “Over the past several years, whiskey consumption in South Korea has outpaced the rest of the world.”

Indeed, South Korea was the world’s fastest growing whisky market in 2022, and consumption is still rising.

South Koreans consumed 14.2 million litres of whisky in 2022, a small amount compared with other nations, but up 46% from 2021, according to Euromonitor International. The pace was the fastest in the world, the researcher said.

Statista data reveals that whisky sales in both the on- and off-trade are worth US$263.3m in 2024.

Jason Kim, Global VP, UOT, explained that “discerning Korean consumers continue to explore and embrace diverse whisky categories, including American whiskey”. As such, he said: “We believe that Barrell Craft Spirits will not only satisfy the current demand but also inspire new whiskey enthusiasts in Korea with its bold and complex profiles.”

The line of Barrell Craft Spirits releases are now sold in 49 US states, Australia, Canada, South Korea, and the UK.

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