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Whiskey sales plunge in 2012 on economic slump
SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- Whiskey sales in South Korea fell sharply last year due to a persistent economic slump and sluggish domestic consumption, industry data showed Wednesday.

   According to data compiled by the Korea Alcohol & Liquor Industry Association (KALIA), a total of 2.12 million boxes were sold last year, down 11.6 percent from 2.4 million boxes sold in 2011. Each box contains 18 0.5 liter bottles.

   With the latest decline, whiskey sales have declined for four consecutive years since 2009 when sales of the hard liquor dropped 10.1 percent on-year.

   Industry insiders said a deepening economic slump made people reluctant to buy relatively expensive liquors and they are increasingly turning to cheaper and lighter drinks like beer.

   By brand, sales of best-selling Windsor, distributed by Diageo Korea Co., plunged 13.2 percent on-year to 800,750 boxes in 2012, from 922,271 boxes a year ago, said the KALIA data. The sales decline is partly attributable to a price hike in September.

   Pernod Ricard Korea Co., the distributor of No. 2 Imperial, saw a 6.7 percent drop in sales of its product, with 750,920 boxes sold in 2012 from 805,166 boxes the year before.

   Sales of Scotch Blue by Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. also dropped 12.5 percent on-year to 327,549 boxes last year from 374,279 boxes.