Started in 2005, Hwayo, A soju (distilled Korean spirits) maker is part of Kwangjuyo group, which owns Kwangjuyo, A traditional high-end Korean pottery maker and Gaon Society, A business that introduces high-end Korean cuisine. under the leadership of the president, Taekwon Cho who aspires to promote high-end Korean culture, Kwangjuyo group’s businesses are growing into brand names that offer their original values. Harmony of sophisticated dishware, cuisine and matching Korean spirits, “Hwayo” create unparalled, multiple layers of aura.
B is back with its ninth issue.
I have spent quite a while to start up my own food establishment, and recently I took a giant step forward and opened my own small restaurant. For me, there are three important pillars when it comes to the food business. First, the food needs to taste good. Second, it should be healthy and nutritious. Third, for something that takes essential part of everyday life, the prices need to be fair. All three of these things may seem obvious, but in reality it’s not very easy to find a restaurant or even a dish that satisfies all of these conditions. That’s because when health is emphasized, food may end up not tasting as good or lacking in sophistication. Conversely, when too much focus is put on taste, it may be tough to pay enough attention to the health factor. Likewise, many restaurants end up making compromises by focusing on limited elements such as taste and visual appeal. There’s a connection when pairing alcoholic beverages with the right food as well.
This issue features soju (a traditional Korean distilled spirit). Specifically, it’s a brand named Hwayo. The story behind this soju brand is actually quite interesting, as it was launched by the most unlikely candidate, Kwangjuyo, a traditional Korean ceramics manufacturer. Thus, the brand name may not be familiar to many. However, more than just distilling an alcoholic beverage, Hwayo is not just about making alcoholic beverages but about sincere attitude toward establishing culture by creating rice-based spirits made by master craftsmen with a package design that embraces a mix of cultural aspects from the East and West.
Taekwon Cho, president of the Kwangjuyo Group which owns Hwayo, noted in his interview with this magazine — “Fine drinks require fine cuisine to go along. Fine cuisine needs excellent ingredients and matching tableware, as well as a great dining space and music.” These were his thoughts on the ripple effect that alcoholic drinks have when culture and business meet, a belief I found extremely persuasive. It’s clear that alcoholic beverages, under the broad definition of “food,” have penetrated every corner of life in most countries, from the wealthy who discuss with master chefs which wines go best with which dishes to the average person who’s looking for something to go with their ice-cold beer.
Conventionally, globally renowned liquor brands have placed an emphasis on craftsmanship and traditions that are handed down over generations. Hwayo, however, is unique right from the start. Taekwon Cho does not come from a family of brewers or distillers, nor does he have extensive knowledge about the distilling process. Cho simply had a goal in mind to create an alcoholic beverage brand that he felt it should be made known to the public and took the necessary steps to increase its brand awareness. Master craftsmen from various fields agreed with his idea. Though many weren’t used to the taste of Hwayo at first, it is gaining market share by delivering a clear message to customers through its brand power. This is the very reason B wanted to delve deeper into Hwayo for this issue — this magazine believes that clear ideas and a solid brand philosophy can help a brand overcome a dearth of experience on its way to establish its own brand identity.
When you feel you’ve found a great alcoholic beverage brand, you should try finding what food goes best with it. This will inevitably lead you to begin thinking about food in a completely different way. On top of this, finding a drink that you genuinely love may help you drink less and ultimately make you healthier.
Tableware is closely related to Hwayo, so it's no surprise that the sister company, Kwangjuyo, runs a ceramics business. The fundamental concept behind ceramics is to hold something, which actually paved the way for the launch of the company's food and alcoholic beverage business. To ensure relevant metaphorical messages, photos were taken at Kwangjuyo's manufacturing facility in Icheon for this section.
03:22 INTERVIEW 01
B interviewed a female professional who mentioned that she often likes to drink socially, but does not exactly enjoy the taste of alcohol. The interviewee commented that she didn't know much about Hwayo and added that soju is far from pleasant to drink because of its overwhelming smell of alcohol.
04:26 ILLUSTRATION FOR THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE
There are various kinds of alcoholic beverages out there on the market today. However, it's not easy for the vast majority of people to tell the difference between whisky, vodka and gin, for example. In addition, there are subtle differences in the way these beverages are made. This section has been designed to answer frequently asked questions about subjects like this.
05:36 INTERVIEW 02
B asked all around to find a professional who has a thorough knowledge of Hwayo. This interviewee commented that unlike other traditional Korean spirits such as Andongsoju or Munbaeju, Hwayo has nicely blended tradition with an urban feel to it. He added that the success of Hwayo will pave the way for the introduction of other distilled soju in the future.
07:42 MEANING OF CONTAINING
This section explains symbolic elements about how the business has evolved from a company that makes ceramics to a food business and then to a company that makes Hwayo. Tableware and Korean cuisine that is contained within ceramic bowls and drinks that go well with this food — all of these implies that there is a connection between the ceramics business owner and the introduction of Hwayo.
08:46 COMMENTS ON HWAYO FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Not a lot of people know very much about Hwayo. Before examining in-depth stories about Hwayo, B interviewed the president of the Kwangjuyo Group, Taekwon Cho, to find out what led him to launch Hwayo.
09:48 MAKING SCENE
Staff members from B visited Hwayo’s manufacturing facility in Yeoju. After three visits, our photographers managed to capture some decisive moments in the production process. In every corner of the facility, it is clear that efforts are being made to revive traditional distillation methods.
10:60 INNER SPACE
Korean spirits made by traditional methods are often thought to be contained in old-fashioned pots. Alternatively, Hwayo has deftly incorporated modernity into its products. This may explain why it is not uncommon for young business people to choose Hwayo when going for a drink after work.
11:62 INTERVIEW 03
B attempted to find out more about Hwayo from the point of view of non-Koreans. The interviewee, the head chef at W Hotel Seoul, noted that the majority of Koreans have a bias against soju, as most of them believe soju is a cheap drink not suitable for formal occasions.
12:66 HOW TO ENJOY HWAYO
This section takes a closer look at how to enjoy Hwayo based on recommendations from chefs of restaurants that offer the distilled spirit. And it’s not just about Hwayo as a drink, but also dishes that go great with it, like Hwayo-based cocktails and matching cups.
14:81 B’S CUT
The most notable aspect of Hwayo is its brand “attitude,” as it aspires to elevate the level of Korean culture in a more sophisticated way. This section introduces a collection of Korean brands that B magazine believes possess a similar attitude.
15:96 BRAND STORY
Hwayo does not have a long history. However, its mother company, the Kwangjuyo Group was established half a century ago. In this part, B shares the group’s story over the years, one which has been full of ups and downs.
Drinks make their presence known only when they are paired with people and food. Just as some say that people live to eat, it can also be said everything is centered at food. And drinks are indispensable elements when pairing them with food. B hopes this issue helps readers learn more about the unique brand identity of Hwayo and the Kwangjuyo Group as a whole.
- Suyoung Joh
- Editor In Chief
- Taehyuck Choi
- Deputy Editorial Director
- Eunsung Park
- Heather Yoo
- Styling Editor
- Insung Yoo
- Project Editor
- Sojeong Jeong
- Guest Editor
- Sena Park, Donghyung Seo, Eunkyung Lee, Myeonghwan Choi, Eunah Kim
- Food Styling
- Yoorim Kim
- Contributing Editors
- Hyeyoung Lee, Nari Park(U.K), Eaji Lee(JAPAN), Sungjoo Kim(GERMANY)
- Art Director
- Chiho Ghim
- Hyekyung Shin
- Sunghoon Park, Junghoon Woo, Woojin Park, Minhwa Maeng
- Onedoe Jung
- Gieun Lee
- Text Correction
- Richard Harris, Heather Yoo
- Hyungjin Choi
- JOH & Company
- Top Process
- Paper Supplying
- Taekwon Cho: Serving His Country through Culture
- Korean Culture in Dishware, Food and Drinks /dt>
- Hwayo Banquet - A Dinner Party to Make Korean Cuisine More Globally Recognizable 1-10
- Hwayo’s Official Twitter Account
- Hwayo’s Official Webpage