Chingu Launches First-Ever Soju Spirit Distilled in the Midwest

Bottles Of Chingu Soju Will Be Released April 2 / Photo Taken By Alyssa Broadus

Founders of the Westport Korean restaurant Chingu, Keeyoung Kim and David Son, have created the first Midwest distilled soju right here in KC. The first batch of Chingu Soju drops April and will be a limited release of just 15-20 cases.

“We began dreaming about creating our own soju in 2020,” Kim states in a release. “It started as a fun, home-distilling project during the pandemic, but after a conversation with our friends at Mean Mule, it felt like this could be a real possibility to make this available in KC.”

The locally distilled Korean spirit is made in partnership with the Crossroads agave distillery Mean Mule Distilling Co. Kim and Son want to “pay homage to soju culture but embrace a new era of cocktail culture,” so the premium soju is made with the same three ingredients used for centuries – rice, nuruk (fermentation water) and water. 

Customers can try their first taste of Chingu (meaning ‘friend’ in Korean) Soju at while sipping on a cocktail at Chingu’s Westport restaurant. The Chingu Soju cocktail menu also features feature soju mixers, often seen in Korean restaurants and bars in other cities, served in carafes with 2 ounce glasses for guests to pour and enjoy at their tables.

“Our vision is an extension of what we set out to do with Sura Eats and Chingu Restaurant—to educate KC about Korean culture while providing spaces where long-time friends and new acquaintances can continue to establish community”, Kim says. “We hope to honor the traditional methods of distilling and enjoying soju as well as showcasing the versatility of soju with mixers and in cocktails.”

We covered the Korean spirit, beloved for its subtle sweet taste and low ABV, last July in our Korean food feature. Learn more about The Spirit of Soju here.

Chingu Soju will be available for purchase at Chingu’s Westport restaurant April 2. The product is a 750mL bottle with an ABV of 40%. For more information, please visit

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