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Food & Beverage

In South Korea, humble rice wine undergoes a renaissance

New craft breweries give makgeolli a hip makeover

Hangang Brewery makes Naroo Makgeolli at a small brewery in Seoul, using only local rice. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL -- Long considered a cheap drink favored by older men and poor farmers, makgeolli is winning the hearts of younger South Koreans as small craft breweries breathe new life into the beverage.

The aroma of malted rice fills the air at the Korea Institute of Alcohol Industry in Seoul's ritzy Seocho District. The institute promotes South Korea's traditional alcoholic drinks and teaches people how to make them.

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