|▲ CEOs Soonchul Gwon and Soonoh Gwon|
Makulli (sparkling rice wine) is the most popular traditional liquor in South Korea. Rainy days without fail call the Koreans for makulli which is always good with ‘jeon – Korean pancakes’. If makulli had the impression of old people’s drink in the past, it seems to be enjoying the second golden age thanks to makulli makers’ timeless effort to captivate hearts of young ones nowadays. One of them is Daechi Jujo famous for Cheongyang Makulli and Chilgapsan Daechi Saeng Makulli.
Hill crossovers quenched their thirst with a bowl of extra chilled makulli
Jujeong-ri is located on the corner of Hanti (Daechi) Hill where people crossed from Cheongyang-eup to Gongju City. Taverns were scattered around to quench the thirsts of travellers and a bowl of extra chilled makulli cooled down their sweated body and soul. Naturally, a small brewing industry was booming and Jujeong-ri earned this name ‘brewer’s village’.
Daechi Makulli was built on the tavern street of Hanti Hill in 1930. The makulli produced here were supplied to villages in and around Chilgap Mountain and it has become the very drink where villagers gather together during the rice planting and harvesting seaons to share joys and sadness of their lives over a bowl of makulli.
“Soju – distilled Korean alcohol – is received as the national liquor of South Korea. Traditionally however, Koreans enjoyed makulli the most. In other words, makulli was always there in almost every tavern and home. It is our pride to keep and pass down the excellent brewing technique and taste of this traditional rice wine” says Soonchul Gwon, one of the CEOs of Daechi Jujo.
Gwons’ father devoted 45 years of his life to finding and making golden ratio handmade makulli. Daechi Jujo is the very result of his timeless passion and the masterpiece method.
‘Makulli for night and day’ and ‘Makulli for all’
The Gwons recently has built a new brewery called Haerangdal Brewery – Sun and Moon Brewery – in Jujeong-ri, Cheongyang County, South Chungcheong Province. They make makulli with concept ‘makulli for night and day’ and ‘makulli for all’. The factory is loaded with phytoncide, red clay and far infrared facilities in order to optimize proliferation of microorganism. The yeast is made by white-koji mold which goes through seeding, ikssam and bossam, and is cultivated in the pine tree room after 48 hours. This process requires the Gwons to wake up at dawn and start the routine of a 12 hour work a day.
“We are developing the technique of our father with our own finding and technique. However, one principle always remains the same: ‘make it right though it is slow’. 12 hours a day is quite laborious physically but our pride always surpass it.”
Chilgapsan Daechi Saeng Makulli and Cheongyang Makulli
Chilgapsan Daechi Saeng Makulli has a rural edge and a heavy feel of swallowing. Cheongyang Makulli, on the other hand, has the taste and the smell the young people like: it has a light feel, more sparkly and more ricey.
The wave logo on Cheongyang Makulli symbolizes the water flowing down from Chilgap Mountain and the peak is Bebong Peak symbolizing a good energy. The 9 stars symbolize the Gwons’ ambition to spread excellence of Daechi makulli to the whole nation over regionalism.
Chilgapsan Daechi Saeng Makulli is sold at NongHyup Hanaro Mart nationwide as well as GS25 and 7-Eleven in the Cheongyang County region. The head office of Cheongyang Makullli is based in Yongsan District Seoul and is supplying it to 240 stores in Gyeonggi Province.
Younghoon Lee, the marketing head of Cheongyang Makulli, says “It is encouraging that Cheongyang Makulli is fast spreading among luxury restaurants in Gangnam District Seoul thanks to our aggressive marketing strategy targeted for young people. We will keep this pace and introduce better design that can appeal to young ones while the quality intact.”
The most traditional is the most global
Meanwhile, the Gwons are pushing forward the listing of their makulli in the cultural assets of Cheongyang County as well as the Cultural Heritage Administration. They are confident of listing on the fact that their brewery has 100 years of history and their plan to turn the old brewery as a makulli activity hall so that Koreans and foreigners alike can have fun to enjoy the making and the tasting.
“France runs many wine cellars alongside activity programs. So why not makulli as it is a traditional Korean rice wine since foreign tourists are more interested in watching and experiencing unique culture of the place they visit. It will make contribution to activating the traditional liquor industry in South Korea in a bigger picture.”
The scale of the Korean liquor industry is around 26 trillion won (approx. USD 219 billion) of which makulli shares 18.6 billion won which is about 3%. So it is worth trying to expand the market through luxurification. This is the reason we should pay attention to the move of Daechi Jujo.
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