So, there’s a new thing that I’ve discovered in Seoul, South Korea recently, and that is ordering wine or liquor via their app to be delivered directly to your local GS25 convenience store for pick-up.
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Online Alcohol Sales in Korea
Online sales of alcohol are (still) illegal in Korea with the exception of traditional alcohol like artisanal soju. The government wanted to ensure that buyers were of legal drinking age (19+ in South Korea), meanwhile promote local, traditional manufacturers.
You can still order something like beer directly from restaurants on local food delivery apps, but presumably, you must order food with the alcohol and your ID will be checked by the delivery driver to ensure you’re of legal age.
However, as of April 2020, retailers like convenience stores were allowed to start selling alcoholic beverages on mobile platforms as long as: (1) they can verify their age on the platform via mobile authentication; and (2) the verified buyer comes into the store to pick up the goods directly.
What is Wine25?
Wine25 is a new feature of GS25 where you can reserve alcohol directly on the app to be picked up at your local GS25 convenience store in Seoul, South Korea. You will verify your age via mobile authentication on the GS25 app and you must also show your ID upon pick-up.
Besides wine, there is a grand selection of imported liquors like Johnnie Walker, Oban, Jack Daniels, Cinzano, Chambord, Bacardi, Kuyper, Martini Rosso, Cointreau, Remy Martin VSOP, Grey Goose, Skyy Vodka, Patron, Grand Marnier, Kraken, Tanqueray, Heineken, Edelweiss, Disaronno, et cetera. These brands can sometimes be hard to find in-store in Korea, but due to the nature of imported products, expect to pay a little extra compared to what you may be used to back home.
Unfortunately, the Wine25 feature on the GS25 app is only available in the Gangnam, Seocho, and Songpa districts of Seoul right now, but will hopefully be expanded to other regions soon.
How to Order Wine with the GS25 App in English
You’ll have to download the GS25 app and sign in. It may be easier to register on the GS25 website first with the Google Translate Chrome extension to automatically translate Korean to English. You will need to have a domestic Korean phone number and a Korean address to register. Once you go back to the app, you can sign in with either your ID or use your mobile phone number.
Once you’re signed in and back to the main page, scroll down and click on the wine icon to access the Wine25 assortment. At some point, you will also have to verify your age via mobile authentication with a domestic (Korean) phone number which can be a bit tricky if you haven’t encountered this before. This will unlock the images, so you’ll be able to see the product instead of a circled 19 image.
You’ll also have to choose your local GS25 store to see the selection available. Prices are fully transparent which is great. You can choose the store by searching from your current location, recent stores, or by a specific store/region. It’s probably easier though to allow the app to use your current location and just click on your nearest GS25.
Making a Reservation
Once you find something you like, you can reserve the bottle for pick-up at your chosen GS25. You will then be prompted to choose a pick-up date.
Once you choose the reservation date, you can continue to adding payment details. The payment options are credit card, credit card (easy settlement), mobile pop, mobile phone payment, and domestic bank transfer.