May 29, 2024

Distilling a life: A North Korean escapee takes her homebrews out of the shadows

Kim Seonghui learned the North's art of alcohol in secret. Now she’s turning it into a business in the South.

Growing up in North Korea, Kim Seonghui learned the art of brewing liquor at home — away from the watchful eyes of the authorities.

Her grandmother worked without special equipment as she passed down family recipes. She would stir the fermented rice with her hands to gauge the process, and based on the feel, she would decide whether to lower the temperature, add ingredients or give it a few more days to ferment.

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