My favorite Korean libation (surely better than Hite beer) is apparently slipping through some regulatory cracks in the U.S.:
Korean-American communities in California and New York somehow convinced state lawmakers that classifying soju as a “hard liquor,” as opposed to a “beer & wine,” would be a serious impediment to their traditional culture (that is if “traditional” culture means getting piss drunk as quickly and as cheaply as possible). Not wanting to appear as culturally insensitive, CA and NY state legislatures (the two most populous states in the Union) agreed, opening the way for soju to be as ubiquitous in Korean American ethnic enclaves as it is in the old country. At the end of the day, classifying soju as a “beer & wine” means that a business can serve it with just a beer & wine license...At ~20% abv, soju is no more potent than port although it is admittedly intended to be taken shot after shot rather than sipped. In Florida, selling soju unfortunately still requires a liquor license as a particular Gainesville ethnic grocery store I'm thinking of found out the hard way.