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Why drink alone?

Feb 23,2017
Honsul, a buzzword which means drinking alcohol alone, is catching on in Korea these days but some folks in the United States do not want to drink alcohol alone, so they buy wine for their furry friends.

Apollo Peak, a start-up company, hit the jackpot as it began producing and promoting cat wine. The company sold $500,000 worth of cat wine in 2016 alone. The company earns profits inside the country for the most part but it recently opened an office in China and its business is growing fast.

Some of its best-selling products are Pinot Meow, which is similar to pinot noir, or Catbernet, which sounds similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. It recently launched white wine for dogs called CharDOGnay. The success of Apollo Peak has spawned other similar companies, too.

The company couldn’t reap success just because of its quality wine. In addition, they don’t produce wine but make concoction by mixing organic beets produced in California and catnip that is harvested from Colorado. Catnip is a herb that is favored by felines.

The New York Times found that cats didn’t really like the beverage after the newspaper did simple tests at cat cafes.

But we still see many photos of cats drinking the cat wine on Instagram and other social media.

Whether the four-legged creatures like the drink or not, their owners are willing to pay between 10,000 won ($8.70) and 20,000 won for a small bottle of cat wine because they feel better having company rather than drinking alcohol alone.

Pet owners can’t exchange glasses of wine or talk over the table with their cats. Then, why do they want to drink with their pets?

A number of people on social media say their pets are “families and friends to them.” They say there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol together with their pets because they share everything.

People treat their animals the same way they treat humans based on the many photos uploaded on Valentine’s Day in which people drank wine with their cats. But they treat their animals as family and friends because it is a way that they can find comfort.

Maybe a cat would be a better companion than two-legged friends these days because people easily get into fights when they talk about politics or religion. The huge success of the cat wine company is hilarious but it makes us sad at the same time because it is telling us that people find solace in animals.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 22, Page 31


*The author is the lifestyle news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

AHN HYE-RI