HiteJinro, the South Korean liquor producer, has won a listing for two of its flavoured soju drinks in Sainsbury’s.
Jinro Green Grape and Jinro Peach have rolled into the world food section of 91 Sainsbury’s stores and will also be sold on the retailer’s website. It is the first time a soju brand has been listed in one of the mults.
Soju is a clear, neutral spirit usually distilled from grains, and is South Korea’s national drink. HiteJinro is the country’s leading producer, with around 61% market share domestically in 2021.
While Jinro had “garnered immense popularity in independent markets”, its arrival in Sainsbury’s was “a notable milestone” in it generating “broader appeal among mainstream audiences”, according to UK commercial director of Jinro importer SOP International Gary Cheung.
Jinro’s flavoured soju are 13% abv and priced at £6 per 350ml bottle in Sainsbury’s.
The flavours had been picked for their “vibrant taste profiles and invigorating freshness”, said Cheung. He added they were “primed to shine at any social gathering or as part of a culinary pairing”.
HiteJinro has been expanding its presence in the UK in recent years. Its Jinro brand became an offical sponsor of the All Points East music festival in August 2022, while it has also established partnerships with London restaurant franchises Yard Sale Pizza and Wing Wing.
The company claims its soju exports to the UK have experienced an average annual growth rate of 73% over the past three years.
Korean food and drink products are gaining popularity in the UK, leading retailers to grow their ranges. In October, Ocado added 50 new Korean products including soju from Jinro to its site. Other products listed included bubble teas and instant noodles.
Ocado had worked with SOP International and could now boast “the largest Korean offering of any UK supermarket”, the retailer said at the time.