Although Baedari has been brewing makgeolli (rice wine), jukyoju (a clearer and more potent rice wine) and soju (Korean fire-water) for almost 90 years, the museum has only been open since 2004. While this particular wine museum / brewery offers no taste tests or samples, plenty of offerings exist in the restaurant. Now in its fifth-generation of ownership, Baedari continues to produce alcohol for the masses.
Start by entering the main building and appreciating the first few simple exhibits. The majority of the collection is upstairs on the second floor. A dim light seems appropriate for the dated items that once assisted in the manufacturing of fermented rice wine (known as 막걸리, or makgeolli) or soju. The technology these days is much better of course, but looking at over 90 years of history has its merits as well.
The history is explained in a helpful brochure, dating back to 1915 where a store was opened up. In 1974, Goyang makgeolli was sent to Pyeongyang for the first inter-Korean summit. This museum, dedicated to the brewery’s history, was founded in 2004, and in 2007 the fifth-generation of brewers continues the legacy.
As for the objects themselves, some have the wear and tear expected of items used on a daily basis. Some are simply displays, while other exhibits are models describing the different processes of making rice wine – unfortunately, nothing is in English for the foreign visitor or tourist. Try reading the descriptions if your Korean is good or a Korean friend is with you – almost nothing is in English.
More modern exhibits are around as well – and are much more similar to what you’ll find in stores today.
Baedari Brewery is worth a visit to Goyang for the sights, and the helpful English brochure gives some basics about the company. The attached first-floor restaurant offers a fair selection of alcoholic beverages to go along with the food served, as you might expect.
Again, the exhibits offer no explanations in English, so go with a Korean friend to explain things or take your best shot at the Korean.
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit:
Directions: Take line 3 of the Seoul subway system north of Seoul to the Wondang station in Goyang city. Take exit 6 to street level. Cross the street, then walk straight for about 500 meters. The signs are in English and are fairly easy to spot. Open 10am-6pm on weekdays, 10am-7pm on weekends. Free admission. Call at 031-967-8052 or visit www.baedari.co.kr.
Crossposted at Chris in South Korea
© Chris Backe – 2009
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