Soju Alcohol Percentage | Why did it get weaker?



The alcohol percentage of Korea soju (ABV) is typically between 17 to 20 percent. But you might be surprised to learn that soju used to be much stronger, and it was only in fairly recent years that the soju alcohol content dropped to what it is today. So why did soju get weaker?

Traditionally distilled Korean soju was usually 40% or higher, but by the time the first mass-produced sojus began rolling out of factories in the 1920s, soju averaged around 35% in alcohol content.

In 1965, distilling soju with rice and grains was banned and diluted soju became the new norm. Diluted soju was first released at 30%, but soon reduced to 25% alcohol content.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, soju was advertised and established itself as a cheap, bitter old man’s drink to cap off the night after a long day at work.

In 1998, Jinro launched a new 23% soju that completely revolutionized the industry. For the first time, ads featured beautiful women, and soju was no longer something for men to bitterly choke down to get drunk. Soju became a clean-tasting drink for everyone to enjoy.

The new branding of soju was such a success that companies went into a competitive frenzy to drop soju alcohol percentage lower and lower throughout the 2000s.

Although soju has gotten weaker over the years, the changes did help soju achieve mainstream appeal and led to more diversity in soju types. We now even have 13% fruit sojus that are pretty delicious to drink.

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#sojualcoholdrink #Korea

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