google-site-verification=-dZePfgWB2ZtA3dxPB_nPrOD55Shnmh0iXAEngMSTwE dZePfgWB2ZtA3dxPB_nPrOD55Shnmh0iXAEngMSTwE
Rumors korean beer

Police Raid Hite Jinro as Korean Alcohol War Heats Up over Rumor Mongering

If reports are accurate, things are once again getting ugly in the Korean alcohol business through the malicious use of online rumors originating from the employees of Hite Jinro. This comes after a court last month found Hite Jinro executives guilty of ordering sales staff to distribute unverified health claims against fellow soju maker Lotte Chilsung.

Police raided the offices of No. 2 beer maker Hite Jinro Co. and one of its provincial agencies yesterday in connection with suspicions that company employees have been spreading malicious rumors against its larger rival Oriental Brewery (OB), maker of the popular Cass Beer.

According to a police spokesperson, investigators seized computer hard drives and other documents from Hite Jinro’s headquarters in southern Seoul as well as from the local sales agency based in Daejeon.

The raid came after OB, South Korea’s largest beer maker, called for a police investigation into allegations that beginning in June Hite Jinro spread rumors against Cass, OB’s best-selling beer brand, on social media sites and mobile messenger services such as KakaoTalk

Some of the rumors (in Korean) read:

  • “Women who are ovulating definitely should avoid this.”
  • “Better not drink any beer made between June and July”
  • “Looks like they didn’t rinse off all the antiseptic when they were cleaning the vats.”

Police reportedly suspect that Hite Jinro employees were directly involved in starting the rumors online and through text messaging.


Cass Beer Korea


An OB employee was quoted in the Korean media as saying: “We requested an investigation because we really thought that this could cause some serious damage to our brand image if left unchecked. We did not name any specific company. If it turned out to be the work of individuals, we asked the police to find out whether someone had put them up to it.”

After rumors continued to spread, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety investigated whether there was any truth behind them. Turns out there were–at least concerning the reportedly foul odor coming from the beer, but not specifically about any potential harm.

Last week the ministry announced that the disinfectant smell in question was actually a product of the oxidation of the fat in the malt and the dissolved oxygen in the beer, a process that occurs naturally during the distribution process.

OB issued an official apology to drinkers about the odd smell, but still took issue with the additional rumors about the dangers to women:

“When customers express their dissatisfaction, we apologize and take measures to deal with the issue. Our request for a police investigation was a response to malicious rumors that were spread about how women who are ovulating should not drink the beer.”

Hite-Jinro dismissed the apology, saying that OB was intentionally deceiving customers and not looking at the basis for the larger concerns of beer safety.

After rumors continued to spread, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety investigated whether there was any truth behind them. Turns out there were–at least concerning the reportedly foul odor coming from the beer, but not specifically about any potential harm.

A representative for Hite Jinro acknowledged that some employees might be involved in the spreading of rumors.

“These were not groundless rumors; they were confirmed during the investigation by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Customers kept making claims, too. Since we have sales staff around the country, it’s possible that some of them took advantage of these claims on an individual level, but this was not a company policy,” said a representative for Hite-Jinro.

A Continuation of Hite Jinro’s Marketing Plan?

This could turn out to be just another chapter in the story of Hite-Jinro defaming competitors as an orchestrated method of marketing.

On August 7th a court charged Hite Jinro executives with funding a program on cable TV claiming that the water used in the production of soju competitor Lotte Chilsung’s Cheoeum Cheoreom brand, was harmful, while offering no verification of the allegation. The court found that the company intentionally spread the rumor through a video posted online as well as through the use of fliers –which they ordered sales staff across the country to distribute.


Latest Haps

Latest NewsEntertainmentLifestyleArts & CultureTravelSports
busan hang bridge

Traffic Closures During the Busan International Ocean Marathon

The Busan International Ocean Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 2. Some streets on the marathon route will be closed.

0 comments
mark-lippert

US Ambassador’s Attacker Gets 12 Year Prison Sentence

The country’s top court has sentenced a South Korean man to 12 years in prison for attempting to murder the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert.

0 comments
court

Anti-graft Law Goes into Effect From Today

The Kim Young-ran anti-graft law is taking in effect starting today. The law aims to prevent government employees and various officials from receiving bribes.

0 comments
concert

Music, Food and Culture: Busan One Asia Festival Gets Underway

Busan will light up with K-Pop stars, food and culture for the month of October.

0 comments
Image: BIFF

Movie Stars from Around the World Are on Their Way to Busan

The tentative lineup for guests visiting the 21st Busan International Film Festival for the opening day on October 6th is near completion.

0 comments
biff-opening1 (1)

21st BIFF Closing Ceremony Hosts Announced

The Closing Ceremony hosts of the 21st Busan International Film Festival will be actor Kim Min Jong and actress Choi Yeojin.

0 comments
shopping

Korea’s Biggest Shopping and Cultural Event Underway

With the nation’s biggest shopping and cultural event “Korea Sale’s FESTA” beginning today, Busan’s distribution industries have begun participating in an all-out competition.

0 comments
make-up

2016 Busan One Asia Festival: Two Free-admission Events for Foreign Tourists

The Busan One Asia Festival is offering free admissions to Taste Busan and the Korean Wave Star & Beauty Collection for foreign guests at BEXCO.

0 comments
cancer

Cancer Still #1 Cause of Death in Korea

Cancer remained the leading cause of death in South Korea in 2015, with fatalities from pneumonia rising sharply amid a rapidly aging population, government data showed Tuesday.

0 comments
concert-audience

3 Busan Bands Hit the 5th Zandari Festa in Hongdae This Weekend

Labeled as the largest music showcase festival in Korea, the event will see more than 160 acts from 19 different countries playing in over 10 clubs in Seoul’s Hongdae area.

0 comments
seafood at jagalchi market

Enjoy Fresh Seafood at the Busan Jagalchi Festival

The Busan Jagalchi Festival takes place from September 29 to October 2 around Jagalchi Market in Jung-gu, Busan.

0 comments
temple

Busan Heritage Night a Big Hit

Busan Heritage Night is the second most popular of the 10 nighttime tour programs launched by the Cultural Heritage Authority (CHA) this year.

0 comments
jinju

Travel Korea: Jinju Lantern Festival Returns

The “2016 Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival” will begin on October 1st and end on the 16th at Jinju Namgang Ilwon.

0 comments
Seoul

Seoul #10 Most Popular Travel City

A new survey by MasterCard shows that Seoul is once again the 10th most popular city for travel in the world.

0 comments
ulsan

Travel Korea: Daytripping in Ulsan

Busan’s neighbor to the north has a lot going for it for a fun weekend that’s not so far from home.

0 comments
sh

Come Have Fun at the 2016 Superhero Comic Dash

Join forces for good and come participate in the 2016 Superhero Comic Dash! Presented by The H.U.G.S (Helping Us Grow to be Superheroes) Association.

0 comments
marathon

Ocean Marathon Traverses Three Bridges

Runners from around the world will gather at the 2016 Busan International Ocean Marathon on Oct. 2.

0 comments
Image: YouTube

Is this the Worst Goalkeeper Blunder Ever?

North Korea’s goalkeeper gives up one of the worst goals ever — to the opponent’s goalkeeper in an AFC U-16 championship match.

0 comments

Comments

comments

About Tory Mock

Check Also

Galaxy Express in Korea

Galaxy Express Live in Busan with New Album November 28

As part of their cross-country November tour in support of their “Walking on Empty” full-length album, award-winning Seoul garage rock trio Galaxy Express will be performing in Busan on Saturday, November 28

Leave a Reply