A new study found that Koreans consume 9 liters of alcohol a year per person, which is equivalent to 121 bottles of soju or 366 500 milliliter cans of beer.
The data was from the study conducted by researchers at St. Mary’s Hospital in Uijeongbu and Inje University, where they found that people over the age of 15 have been consuming 9.14 liters of alcohol as of 2015, according to The Chosunilbo.
New marketing strategies of breweries are the likely cause of this rise of alcohol consumption in Korea, according to the study. Some breweries offer marked-down prices for their beverages while others come up with new, exciting flavors to entice consumers. It has also increased the consumption of imported beers, wine and fruit liquors.
“Alcohol consumption will probably keep increasing as a new culture of drinking alone takes hold and more women drink,” a researcher involved in the study said.
“The once-male-dominated drinking culture is now spreading to women. Fruit-flavored soju often leads women to drink more liquor as their alcohol tolerance grows,” the study said.
South Korea has reached an alarming, dangerous level of alcohol consumption, according to the World Health Organization. The country now has a proportion of alcoholics by 6.2% — 10.3% for men and 2.2% for women. This outnumbered the rest of the world’s average count of 4.1%, and even countries that are famous for alcohol consumption such as Japan with 2.8% and Germany, which has 5.4% proportion of alcoholic drinkers.
For the people of South Korea, alcohol is both a social lubricant and a guaranteed way to advance yourself on the career ladder of your field, News.com.au reported.
Alcohol advertising in the country is only allowed to be aired between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. But a number of female celebrities like Kim Tae-hee, IU, and Lee Hyo-ri promote soju beyond those times, while members of K-pop boy bands model for fruit soju focusing on young female consumers.
South Korea also has a very strict law about selling alcohol near schools. Anyone caught doing the crime can receive a heavy fine of 5 million won ($4,538).