|▲ Gayang Brewery / CEO Leeduk Jo|
Mostly enjoyed by Koreans, traditional Korean liquors are attracting attention overseas nowadays. A book of Joseon records that there were around 400 kinds of liquors and the number jumped to more than 1,000 if added unrecorded. A 2020 report of thesool.com, run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, shows traditional liquors have been drawing a rising curve in sales since 2016. Alongside this meaningful move, we are seeing traditional liquors in bars and restaurants more often than before.
Nestled in grain-rich Gimhae Plain in southeast part of Korea, Gayang Brewery is famous for using organically grown local rice to make makulee, traditional Korean rice wine.
"The quality and taste of makulee comes from rice as it is the core ingredient. This is the reason that I only use the locally produced organic rice by myself. No additives or artificial flavors are in there but natural and pure ingredients as our ancestors did and it is the reason why Gayang Brewery makulee is so popular" says Leeduk Jo, CEO of Gayang Brewery.
[Nimgrida and Gaya Takju]
The flagship brand of Gayang Brewery is Nimgrida (missing you). Jo goes through average 66 days of fermentation and ripening followed by secondary ripening in low temperature with Jinjugokja to make deep, delicate and fruity taste of Nimgrida. Jinjugokja is known to be the most natural makulee making method normally used to brew premium liquors. Another impressive brand to try is Gaya Takju made through average 33 days of fermentation and ripening to create a unique balance between sweet and sour.
Leeduk Jo worked at a multinational company for 15 years. There was one thing that always bothered him during these years of his career as a liquor seller was that there was not a single Korean liquor he could proudly recommend when asked about Korean liquors from foreigners. It came to him one day that he decided to quit to launch a journey to find excellent Korean liquors that are good but might be hidden somewhere in Korea. For the next 5 years, he traveled far and wide in search of them alongside a research until he finally set sail Gayang Brewery in December 2020. Though 2 year old, Jo has already built brand recognition in the market and they are being sold at Lottemart and Hanaromart.
"Unlike in the past, people nowadays drink to enjoy but not to be wasted. For this reason, more and more people are looking for quality liquor than cheap and quantity-oriented liquors. Gayang Brewery is answering to this change of culture with traditional but sophisticated taste and design everybody, young or old, can enjoy“ says Jo.
Gayang Brewery is releasing a milky liquor this month followed by a distilled liquor in March or April. <PowerKorea>
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