History of soju

The first version of soju (known as “araq”) was brought into Korea by Mongol invaders in the 13th century. 

In 1965 during the post-liberation period, rice was banned from being used to brew alcohol, thus resulting in the use of other starches like sweet potato or tapioca. This opened the doors to the creation of many popular soju brands such as Chamisul soju. 

To cater to modern taste buds, the alcohol percentage of soju is typically tweaked to be lower these days. 

Soju vs sake


Originated from Korea
Ingredients: other starch alternatives, e.g. sweet potato
Method of production: distilled like vodka
Taste: clean, slightly sweet


Originated from Japan
Ingredients: rice
Method of production: fermented and brewed like beer
Taste: dry