Its first shipment to the country contains 120,000 bottles, and will be sold in large-scale supermarkets.
Dubbed ‘Soonhari Yoghurt’, the new soju falls within Lotte Liquor’s well-known Soonhari range of soju products which have gathered a strong following in the Oceania region. Revenue tripled last year in this region as compared to 2016.
Commonly called ‘fruit soju’, the brand is available in over 30 countries including Malaysia, Taiwan, China and Germany. According to Insight Korea, Soonhari exports have increased by some four times globally since it was first launched overseas in 2015.
“Soonhari is so popular abroad that local merchants often request new flavours themselves,” said a Lotte Liquor spokesman to Korea Joongang Daily.
“We plan to introduce Soonhari to many other countries as well.”
Soonhari only contains 12% to 14% of alcohol, which makes it relatively milder than regular soju.
As of now, Soonhari Yoghurt is not available locally in Korea or in other overseas markets, although there is a high likelihood that New Zealand will be its next destination.
Riding the internet wave
Lotte Liquor’s move is in line with a new cocktail mix that is rapidly gaining popularity online, unsurprisingly dubbed the yoghurt soju cocktail.
It contains a mix of a yoghurt drink like Yakult with Korean soju and a lemon/lime flavoured soft drink like Sprite.
Recipes for mixing the cocktail have seen a surge in interest as of late, with some of the relevant recipe videos obtaining over 39,000 views on YouTube.
Lotte Liquor elsewhere
Outside of Oceania, Soonhari is also popular in some South East Asian countries.
Lotte Liquor launched a new strawberry flavoured Soonhari line in Thailand and Vietnam earlier this year. It is also looking to drive beer sales in Cambodia, via its Kloud branded premium beer.
“Along with the Korean wave in Southeast Asian countries, many consumers in Cambodia have already shown high interest in Korean alcohol such as beer and soju,” said a Lotte Liquor spokesman.
According to Yonhap News Agency, industry officials concur with this view, saying that: "The consumer recognition of soju is very high in Southeast Asia because of the continuing (Korean Wave) popularity from K-dramas and K-pop."
"The region is emerging as a source of new profits for the industry."
The company is estimated to have exported over 170,000 cans and bottles of Kloud beer to Cambodia this year.
According to the Global Soju Market Report 2018, the global soju market hit a value of US$2.65bn in 2017, and is predicted to reach US$3.41bn by 2022.
Lotte Liquor is recognised as one of the world’s major players in the global soju market.