A Korean Rice Liquor Is Far And Away The World's Best-Selling Booze

pouring soju drinking

Photo: Justin Ornellas/Flickr

Trade publication Drinks International just released its annual list of the world’s best-selling liquor brands and surprisingly, a local Korean brand of distilled rice liquor, called soju, topped the list, beating out major global players like Smirnoff and Bacardi.The winning brand, Jinro, sold more than 61 million 9-liter cases in 2011. That’s MORE THAN TWICE as much as the runner-up, Smirnoff, which sold just over 24 million 9-liter cases in the same period.

What’s more, Jinro sales actually declined 4.5 per cent from the previous year, in part because it’s the dominant brand in a slow-growth market, according to Drinks International. Jinro accounts for about half of all soju sold in Korea.

So what makes the drink such a knockout?

Jinro, which is 19 per cent alcohol by volume, is one of just a handful of spirits with a medium level of alcohol on the Korean market, making it a popular choice, a company official told CNNGo.com. Plus it’s super cheap, costing a little over a dollar at convenience stores and around $3 at bars and restaurants

Add that to the fact that Koreans simply love to drink, and you have a winning formula, according to CNNGo.com.

Even so, it’s impressive that the liquor is so massively popular given it’s taste. We’ve tried soju once or twice, and it is rough to drink.

These are the 20 best-selling liquor brands, according to Drinks International (click to enlarge).

drinks chart

Photo: Drinks International

DON’T MISS: The US Cities With The Most Binge Drinkers >

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.