The Korea Herald


HiteJinro marks centennial with renewed growth push

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : June 2, 2024 - 16:22

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HiteJinro sales director Kim Hyun-jin speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. (HiteJinro) HiteJinro sales director Kim Hyun-jin speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. (HiteJinro)

HiteJinro, the nation's oldest liquor-maker marking its centennial this year, on Wednesday renewed its emphasis on product quality and customer engagement.

"We believe the key to maintaining a 40 percent share of some 2,729 manufacturing licenses in Korea today is HiteJinro's exceptional products, marketing and sales skills all combined as teamwork," said Kim Hyun-jin, managing director of HiteJinro's sales division, during a press conference in Seoul.

HiteJinro traces its origins to Jincheon Yangjo Sanghoe, the parent company of Jinro, founded in 1924, and Joseon Beer, the predecessor of Hite, established in 1933. HiteJinro was officially renamed in 2011, following Hite's acquisition of Jinro in 2005. Much like the term "somaek," a blend of soju and beer, HiteJinro said it encompasses two of the most popular beverages for Koreans

Since the merger, HiteJinro has introduced a variety of alcoholic beverages, focusing on individual brand strategies to ensure corporate longevity.

"HiteJinro has become a leading Korean liquor company due to its quality portfolio, such as Terra, Kelly, Chamisul and fruit-flavored soju, backed by a hundred years of expertise in sales," Kim said.

The company expressed pride in its long-standing tradition of having its sales team travel nationwide. This approach extends beyond wholesalers and vendors, aiming to increase interactions with the general public.

For instance, HiteJinro engages in sales activities at baseball stadiums to connect with some 8 million sports fans and participates in countless regional and college festivals each year. Additionally, HiteJinro delivers products to remote areas, such as the islands of Baengnyeongdo to the northwest and Ulleungdo to the east, regardless of volume.

"As we firmly believe in giving back to the community, we constantly contribute to local development and work for the revitalization of secluded neighborhoods," Kim added. "This includes donating part of our sales revenue to local fire departments and providing scholarships for children."

Currently, the company is focusing on long-term projects aimed at targeting foreign residents in Korea, while further expanding its reach to international markets.

"We now export our soju products to more than 80 countries, and such growing demand led us to the construction of an upcoming beverage production plant in Vietnam," said Jeong Sae-young, head of HiteJinro's communications team.

"We will strive to maintain the highest quality through our integrated research institute in Korea, which will also be completed by the end of this year at the earliest," Jeon added.