New product development of Korean distilled spirits, Soju
Kim, Tae Wan
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Soju is a traditional Korean distilled spirit that may be traced back to the 13th century. Despite its long history, there has been limited research on its production. Along with the world’s historical chaos of the first half of the 20th century, the Korean traditional Soju industry has declined in recent years. This research covers three areas: investigation of production yeasts for Soju fermentation, process optimisation, and Soju differentiation through maturation. From the perspective of New Product Development, a total of three consecutive years of research were conducted on the subject. Seven new yeasts for Soju diversification were selected during this study and a range of results were generated regarding the physico-chemistry changes during maturation. Of the 7 yeasts selected, the best performing yeast, in terms of flavour profile, was chosen for process scale-up and maturation studies. Investigation of new make Soju maturation in materials such as Oak (Quercus Alba), Onggi (ceramic pot) and Stainless steel, led to development of new Soju products. This research confirmed the possibility of revitalising Korean traditional Soju and the results can be applied to related industries as an initial reference based on brewing and distilling science.