Our traditional liquor, with its taste and flavor, is emerging as a new trend in the liquor market. According to a 2020 liquor industry survey, the total alcoholic beverage shipments have been decreasing since 2016, but the sales volume of traditional alcoholic beverages is increasing rapidly every year. One of these factors is the recent change in the perception that, unlike in the past, traditional liquor is high-end. Among many traditional liquor, Gyeryong Paeg Il Ju is one of those that is making such a buzz in the market.
A royal court liquor of the Joseon Dynasty that has been passed down for over 400 years over 14 generations
Baek Il Ju was originally made only for the royal family, but King Injo gave the manufacturing technique to the Yeonan-Lee family. Since then, the secret recipe has been continuously handed down by the Lee family for about 14 generations over 400 years, and it is mainly served at ancestral rites or at guests’ drinks. In December 1989, this liquor was designated as Chungnam Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 7 and was introduced to the world under the name of ‘Gyeryong Baek Il Ju’ by the late Master Ji Bok-nam.
Deep and mellow fragrant of pine needles, chrysanthemum, schisandra and azalea
Recognized as a fine traditional liquor in online shopping malls and famous department stores
Master Lee Seong-woo, current CEO of Gyeryong Baek Il Ju, continues the legacy after the late Master Ji Bok-nam passed away. Lee is making the reputation of this liquor more widely known by adding modern techniques and his own know-how to traditional methods. Sales volume is rising rapidly in online shopping malls, and it is impossible to sell due to lack of stock during the holidays. The customer base is also very diverse, ranging from 20 to 50 years old. Lee says “After devoting my life to the succession and development of the brewing method for 50 years, I successfully brought up a new method. It greatly improved the quality, shelf life, and subtle aroma and taste of yakju.” Lee makes his own yeast, grinds glutinous rice, and adds seasonal ingredients such as pine needles, chrysanthemum flowers, omija, and azalea to make this. Through this traditional method, he first makes 16-degree yakju, then uses a sterilizer and a still to produce 30-degree and 40-degree distilled soju. These alcoholic beverages have a rich, deep aroma and taste, and their clear and refreshing mouthfeel is worthy of being called a mastery. They taste and smell better with age and can be preserved permanently. The 12-year-old and 15-year-old are sold as the finest traditional liquors in famous department stores in Korea.
|▲ Gyeryong Paeg Il Ju / CEO Lee Seong-woo|
Selected as a banquet drink for the February 2005 Inter-Korean Summit
The late Ji Bok-nam master was designated as the traditional food master No. 4, and in 1997, the liquor was designated as a special agricultural product. This liquor was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize at the ‘Traditional Folk Wine Fair’ in October 1999, and was selected as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Award in 1999, the Minister of Culture in September 2000, and served as an Inter-Korean Summit Dinner drink in February 2005.
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