The alcohol content of soju varies depending on the brand and type. Traditionally, soju was around 40% ABV. You can still get this soju from craft and high end soju suppliers. You will only find these bottles in better Korean pubs, supermarkets, and specialty stores. 

We’re seeing a divergence in the alcohol content of soju these days. Lower percentage mass produced sojus are coming out to attract young female customers. High end and craft sojus are appearing for connoisseurs, between 25 and 40% or more. In America, lower alcohol sojus are more popular because liquor laws put them outside the hard liquor category. This makes them easier to put them in stock.

The more common mass produced green bottles tend to be around 19-25% ABV. This includes Chamisul, Jinro, and Chum Churum. Over the decades, mass produced soju has gone down in ABV. In the 1960s, it was in the 30s. It had gone down to 25% in the 1990s. In the mid-2000s, new “softer” products came out to try to attract more female customers. Yes, I know that’s sexist, but that was their intent.

In 2015, fruit flavored soju came out, which brought the ABV down to 16%. These are much smoother to drink and are good introductory soju. The low alcohol content with the fruit flavors make them so easy to drink, some people just stick a straw in them and drink them like juice.  

Here’s a rule of thumb for the alcohol content of soju.

  • Green bottle – Around 22%
  • Green bottle with fruit – Around 16%
  • Not a green bottle – 25-40% 

The alcohol content is always somewhere on the bottle if you’re unsure. Some brands include the alcohol content in the name (Jinro 24, Hwayo 17).

Soju Alcohol Content by Brand

  • C1 Blue – 18-19.8%
  • C1 Grapefruit – 14%
  • Chaejeul Surok Fruit – 14%
  • Cham – 18%
  • Chamisul 16.9 – 16.9%
  • Chamisul Classic – 20%
  • Chamisul Fresh – 17.2%
  • Chamisul Fruit Soju – 13%
  • Chamnamultong Malgeunseul – 16%
  • Cho-eun Day (Good Day) Fruit Color Series – 13.5%
  • Cho-eun Day (Good Day) Original – 16.9%
  • Chum-Churum Mild – 16.8%
  • Chum-Churum Original – 17.5%
  • Chum-Churum Rich – 20%
  • Chum-Churum Soonhari Fruit Soju – 12-14%
  • Hallasan Olle – 21%
  • Hallasan Original – 18.5%
  • Hwayo 17 – 17%
  • Hwayo 23 – 23%
  • Hwayo 25 – 25%
  • Hwayo 41 – 41%
  • Ilpoom Andong Soju (brown bottle) – 40%
  • Ilpoom Andong Soju (frosted bottle) – 21%
  • Ipsaeju – 19%
  • Ipsaeju Premium – 20.1%
  • Jinro 20 – 20%
  • Jinro 24 – 24%
  • Jinro 25 – 25%
  • Jinro Gold – 25%
  • Jinro Ilpoom 18 Year – 31%
  • Jinro Ilpoom 1924 – 25%
  • Jinro Original – 20.1%
  • MalgeulLinn – 20%
  • O2Linn – 19.2%
  • Pungjeong Sagye – 25% & 42%
  • Saan – 21%
  • Shiweonhan Cheongpum – 18%
  • Tokki Black – 40%
  • Tokki White – 23%