Visiting Soju(소주) Factory


Image@Sports Seoul

Soju (Hangul 소주; Hanja 燒酒) is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to sugars added in the manufacturing process. It is usually consumed neat. Most brands of soju are made in South Korea. Though it is traditionally made from rice, most modern producers of soju use supplements or even replace rice with other starches, such as potatoes, wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.

Soju is clear and colorless. Its alcohol content varies from about 16.7%, to about 45% alcohol by volume (ABV) for traditional Andong soju, with 20% ABV being most common. It is widely consumed, in part, because of its relatively low price in Korea. A typical 375mL bottle of soju costs the consumer 1,000 to 3,000 South Korean Won in South Korea (roughly $1 to $3 United States Dollars). In the USA, it tends to cost substantially more – $5 or more.

Jinro is the largest manufacturer of soju. (76 million cases sold in 2008). The most popular variety of soju is currently Chamisul (참 이슬 – literally meaning “real dew”), a quadruple-filtered soju produced by Jinro, but recently Chum-Churum (처음처럼 – “like the first time”) of Lotte BG (롯데) is raising its market share.

Jinro Factory is located at Icheon City of where is located one & half hour drive from Seoul by car and there are total 480 employed people working for managing this facilities. In a day, they can produce 4 millions of bottles of Soju today.

Foreign tourist can visit this factory and every visitors whose ages are above 19 years old also have a chance to drink Soju that produced on the spot. After watching promotional movie, tour guides lead to show window of which displayed every kinds of Soju that the company produced for 84 years. For visiting, tourist have to make a reservation first to the office(Tel:031-644-0811)

TV Commercial for ‘Chamisul’ Soju by PSY

There are one more factory of which offer a chance to visit and have experience of Soju. It is Guksoondang factory which is also famous brand in Korea.

Image@Guksoondang

Image@Guksoondang

Kooksoondang (Hangul: 국순당) is a Korean Brewery, founded in 1952. The name literally means “house of good yeast and good wines”.
Kooksoondang is a major producer of natural beverages and health-related products. In 1994, Mr.jung-Ho Bae, CEO of the company, refurbished the benefits of a traditional wine Koreans have been enjoying for many years, mixing modern technology with old formula, and produced Bek Se Ju.It has a unique fermentation method for the brewing of rice wine. Unlike the regular methods of producing rice wine, Kooksoondang grind raw rice with Nuruk (Korean traditional koji) and brew them without steaming.

Introduction of ‘Guksoondang’ by in-house guide

The most famous brands of Sogju from this company is Bekseju (sold under the brand name Bek Se Ju; literally “one-hundred-years wine”) is a Korean glutinous rice-based fermented alcoholic beverage flavored with a variety of herbs. According to some, the name comes from the legend that the healthful herbs in baekseju will help you live to be 100 years old. The drink is infused with ginseng and eleven other herbs, including licorice, omija (Schisandra chinensis), gugija (Chinese wolfberry), Astragalus propinquus root, ginger, and cinnamon.

The company has been selected as the first green company from the industry by the Ministry of Environment.
  • The company has used Fermentation of raw rice to reduce the carbon dioxide which is environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
  • The company keeps a rigorous rule that the wastewater have to be the second grade of feed water. The rest of product is also used as animal feed and compost. Plants have 3steps treatment process of wastewater and the pollution level is automatically checked by the real time monitoring system.

TV commercial for Bekseju

Tourist can visit the factory from Tuesday to Friday (09:00-15:00), but holidays and Mondays are closed. If group-more than 10 people-would like to visit the factory, they have to make a reservation first to the office(Tel:033-340-4300). The factory is located at Heongseon-gun County, Gangwon-do Province. The distance from Seoul to Guksoondang factory is around 200 km and it takes about 2 hours by car.

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