101 East

South Korea’s Hangover

South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians, but is this national obsession with alcohol reversible?

You might be surprised to know that the biggest alcohol consumers are not drinking in sub-zero Siberia; they are in South Korea.

South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians and they consume more alcohol than any other nation. 

Soju, a fermented-rice spirit, is king, with more than seven million bottles consumed every night. 

Drinking is treated as the social lubricant to build workplace camaraderie, secure business deals and to earn trust.

But with an estimated 1.6 million alcoholics, and the social costs to health reaching $20bn a year, 101 East asks whether the cap can be put back on the Soju bottle.

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