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Oct 16, 2012 01:54 AM

Liquor prices at the Korean supermarkets

Flying into town next weekend and the proprietor of one of the small Korean stores where I live is asking me if I can pick up some Johnnie Walker Blue at one of the Korean supermarkets. I'm not sure if I can make it out to Koreatown or Gardena, so I might just get it at my ol' trusty nearby beverage warehouse, or maybe Costco if they have it. But it got me thinking if those markets are even comparable pricewise with the beverage warehouses. Based on my experience with Japanese whisky at the Japanese markets like Marukai and Mitsuwa, that's not the case unless there's some insane sale going on. Am I missing out by not trying to make it to Hannam or Assi? I know I can call of course, but I'm asking about the prices in general. And am I missing out on some correlation between Koreans and Johnnie Walker? The implication given was that Koreans adore the stuff.

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  1. Costco definitely has it. Great price too. Not just Korean markets carry JWB, many other asian markets carry it as well. Vietnamese markets tend to carry an assortment of cognacs ranging from $20 to $15000 at San Gabriel Superstore. Also, try Total Wine and More, they have excellent prices and practically everything.

    1. I've found that Korean supermarkets are pretty crap for buying liquor. Since they don't get volume deals even their sale prices are pretty weak. Unless I need something high-end I usually wait for something to go on sale at CVS. I guess you can get good deals on Jinro soju and that sort of thing at Korean markets but you can also get good deals on rubbing alcohol with much the same effect.

      Japanese supermarkets don't seem to be much better. I'm always shocked at the prices for sake and shochu. They're almost comparable to restaurant markups. If anyone knows a place with good deals on this stuff (Torrance maybe?) I'd love to hear it.

      As far as the love for Blue Label goes, in my experience Koreans tend to be 'duty-free luxury brand' consumers. Blue Label's a well known brand and known for being expensive. The finer points of quality vs. price point aren't really taken into consideration by those buyers.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrgreenbeenz

        cvs on sale is generally still way overpriced.
        Mission Wine & Spirits, Costco, Topline would be my first choices.
        Total Wine really doesn't cut it, and Bevmo is not even worth the conversation.

        1. re: carter

          Carter, I haven't had any issues with Total Wine. What are your problems with it?

        1. Crown can be found for cheap when they go on sale. Crown > Johnny. Johnny more for Chinese than Korean.

          Otherwise, $1.99 for soju punched up with corn syrup. It makes the lady swoon. Crown, soju, 7-up, fake Yakult yogurt, and a big ass watermelon make a K-party.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TonyC

            actually, crown is for the little kiddies. johnnie is definitely more the korean thing, as evidenced by all the johnnies @ korean bars and clubs.

          2. $200 @ 99 Ranch, $155 @ Costco.