Despite the long history of alcohol in Korea there was no beer until the 20th century. Rice wine and Soju have been staples of the Korean alcohol industry for centuries, but beer was a very late addition, being introduced in about 1908.
Yet for the last generation beer has steadily gained a following. This is partly caused, or at least reflected, by the appearance of South Korean beer in television and popular culture. This popularity is even more surprising because until recently there have only been two major beer manufacturers. Government restrictions made microbreweries and other companies difficult to start.
The two major beer producers, OB and Hite-Jinro retain the largest market share, producing several beers that are mostly made from rice. The two rival products are considered so similar that many restaurants other stock one or the other. Until recentl the only other option was imported beer, which was quite expensive.
The situation changed after 2012 when a British magazine (The Economist) claimed that Beer was the one area when the North Koreans were ahead of the South. The South Korean government changed their regulations in light of this in an attempt to improve the situation. Microbreweries appeared in 2014 and the Lotte distiller (already famous for Soju) started to produce a beer to rival the main two brands.
As Korean beer is made from rice it is quite different to western beers. It goes well with Korean fried chicken and most late night meals.