N. Korean Liquor to Be Sold in US

Korea Times
Jung Sung-ki

A North Korean-made distilled liquor of soju is expected to make a foray into the U.S. market as early as this month, the Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, reported Wednesday.

The report said the “Pyongyang Soju’’ made by a factory in the North Korean capital has been exported to the U.S. since early last month through the Korea PyongYang Trading U.S.A. owned by a Korean-American Park Il-woo, 59.

Park and his business partner visited the North last month for the shipment of about 64,800 bottles of soju in three containers, it said.

“If the customs procedures go as scheduled, the soju will be sold at U.S. stores, marketplaces and restaurants as early as late this month or early next month,’’ Park was quoted as saying.

“The North Korean government shows a positive response to this business in that its product is to be exported to the U.S., which has long been considered as a hostile country, through legal procedures,’’ he said. “I think this will serve as a good opportunity to improve the relations between the two countries in the future.’’

On April 9, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il held a ceremony for Park when the soju shipment took place at the port of Nampo on the west coast, the report said.

Park received approval for the import of the North Korean-made soju from the U.S. government last July, according to the report.

The North Korean liquor will be first sold in the eastern states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland with the help of Tang’s Liquor Wholesale, a liquor agency, it said.

N.K. soju to debut in U.S.
Korea Herald
Lee Joo-Hee

Americans will soon be able to get a taste of North Korea, in the form of soju – a traditional Korean rice liquor – that will debut in the U.S. market this month.

Steve Park, a South Korean-American businessman, said 2,520 boxes of Pyongyang Soju with a lowered alcohol content of 23 percent left for the United States last month.

“The North Korean government is pretty hyped about having its products exported to the United States through formal customs process,” Park was quoted as saying by Hankook Ilbo, a South Korean news daily.

Park, who runs Korea Pyongyang Trading USA, has been devoting a lot of time trying to get U.S. approval to bring in the North Korean beverage.

“When calculating the customs process, I believe Pyongyang Soju will be able to go on sale in the eastern region of the United States at the end of this month or early next month,” Park said.

“It can be a positive sign for the trust level of the two countries that the United States approved the import of liquor that usually requires a strict customs process,” Park was quoted as saying.

Park has completed producing a poster and advertisements to promote sales of the soju.

Park immigrated to the United States in early 1980s and has been involved in businesses with North Korea for the past 10 years.

He most recently visited North Korea’s Nampo Port between April 4-12 to oversee the shipment of the products.

Pyongyang Soju is the representative soju of North Korea and is made with corn, rice and glutinous rice flour. It has been exported to Japan and China.

The total shipment of Pyongyang Soju to the United States includes some 60,000 bottles.

The items received permits from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration, the news reports said.

Addendum: From the KFA forum:

Korea Pyongyang Trading U.S.A. Inc.
98 Thayer Street, Apt. 1B
New York NY 10040-1108


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