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Samsung Sets New Guidelines For Alcoholic Beverages 137

jones_supa writes "To tame the vigorous drinking habits of the Koreans, the parent company, Samsung Group, implemented a strict code of conduct for staff dinners at Samsung. Deeply ingrained in South Korean business culture, hoesik is a hierarchical bonding experience which usually involves free-flowing alcohol, often forced upon lower-ranked staff who are expected to serve and entertain their superiors. The new rules banned rituals like beolju, or forcing drinks on others, and sabalju — the mixing of several different beverages to make a potent punch. An employee of nine years, said the company had implemented a rule known as '1-1-9', which restricts hoesik to one sitting, one type of alcohol and a cut-off point of 9pm in order to prevent excessive drinking. Samsung's move comes as South Korea has more broadly made some steps towards tackling excessive alcohol consumption and drink-induced violence. South Koreans are by far the heaviest drinkers in Asia and the biggest consumers of spirits in the world, according to the World Health Organization."
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Samsung Sets New Guidelines For Alcoholic Beverages

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  • Re:News For Nerds??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gagol ( 583737 ) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:51PM (#42158023)
    Login, click on "Recent" and start moderating. As AC you have no right to bitch what so ever.
  • Re:News For Nerds??? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:15PM (#42158473)
    A double of Johnny Walker has about the same alcohol content as a pint of beer (i.e. 500ml at 5% has the same alcohol as 50ml at 50%) - if that makes you feel better :-)
  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:28PM (#42158533)

    Mountain climbing is dangerous, whereas the worst that will happen in a night on the town is you falling off a bar stool.

    Not true. Many more people die from acute alcohol poisoning [] than from mountain climbing accidents.

  • by QQBoss ( 2527196 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @01:08AM (#42159303)

    Soju can be made with many things, just as vodka is. Some retain their taste more than others and can be found in strengths as high as any moonshine. I brought some back from one trip that was 60% ABV, found it completely undrinkable, but gave it to some Korean guys I knew who immediately became my bestest buddies until the alcohol ran out. I found it rather disturbing when I noticed that the alcohol was dissolving the Styrofoam cups they were drinking out of! To say the least, like with erguotou in China, at that level it is an acquired taste which few people that don't grow up with it will develop.

    Modern day soju has commonly been made from sweet potatoes and then saccharin added to make it even sweeter (more than a few military personnel would find out antifreeze had been added to kick up the sweetness even higher, resulting in horrible headaches if they were lucky, blindness or death if they weren't). This makes it work very well in cocktails where the sweetness blends in. Koreans generally just mix it with fruit juice or lemonade if with someone who doesn't like the taste, or drink it straight with someone who does or when eating food, at least in my experience. For something with less of an overt taste and with no sweetness added, try Iichiko shochu from Japan- made from barley, served with a twist of lemon, quite nice and dry, so to speak, but significantly pricier than a similar amount of Jinro.

    Soju also comes in a variety of strengths, with Jinro adding water to the 21 or 22% version mostly popular in Korea to bring it down to 19.5% or 20% (some places do allow higher, this was first done for California, IIRC) allowing it to be sold at beer and wine-only licensed establishments in the USA. The establishments love it because they can charge a premium for it as a call-brand, the customers can buy more because they don't get drunk as easily, and the soju is cheap (perhaps not compared to Gilbeys, granted, but a lot cheaper than Absolut or Finlandia).

  • by ihavnoid ( 749312 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @03:19AM (#42159775)

    I'm a native Korean, Samsung Electronics employee for the last couple of years, although the following text does not represent my employer.

    Actually the reason behind this seems to be twofold - health (you can't expect somebody who drunk heavily to perform adequately next day), cultural (Samsung isn't simply a Korean company anymore), and probably legal (the company is liable if drinking was part of the routine job, and it didn't do anything about it).

    Decades ago, the only people working for Samsung (and probably most Korean companies) were mostly male Koreans aged somewhere around 30 to 50. (In the eighties, Korean women had a difficult time getting jobs on large corporates (except as secretaries or factory production workers) and were routinely fired for getting married) The only thing that they could do in common was drinking. Considering that Asian people have a blurry boundary between personal and professional issues, drinking (and for executives, playing glof) was a very essential task for successful working. Actually, companies even had "drinking VP"s who's job was to drink with business contacts every night, and nothing else.

    Fast forward to 2012. Samsung now has some 300k employees, and more than half of those people are non-Koreans. Many employees have their spouse also working, which means somebody has to take care of their kids if they have to drink late. There are many non-Korean people everywhere, even on the Korean campuses. Business contacts are no longer limited to Asian countries. Suddenly, it doesn't make much sense to socialize by drinking heavily. You can't expect to be able to socialize with other people if they don't drink much, or don't drink at all.

    The problem was that this "heavy drinking" thing was a sort of a "tradition". Many people, especially junior/senior management people who were working for Korean companies for decades, found themselves uncomfortable to socialize with other people without excessive soju or whisky or whatever. So, corporate policy kicks in, and tries to change the culture. Not only by simply banning "drinking", but by trying to suggest alternative methods (e.g., sports activities or doing charity work).

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats