Carol Pak | Bringing History & Tradition to Millennials Through Makgeolli

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

What is Makgeolli?

If you attended our Season 3 launch event, you'll have tried Makgeolli. It's the sweet, milky, tangy, alcoholic drink that was mixed in with lychee slushy, courtesy of Grace Street Cafe and Makku.

For those of you who haven't tried makgeolli, it is the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea and it's similar to a sweet, fragrant rice wine. The rice particles are only roughly filtered so the beverage remains a milky white. In fact, makgeolli literally means "roughly filtered" in Korean.

After discovering it on her trip to Korea, Carol Pak fell in love with the drink and was shocked to discover that makgeolli was only marketed to seniors in America. Inspired to share this drink with her friends in the states, Carol started brewing her own makgeolli and thus Makku was born.

Carol's Origin Story

Rock The Boat: Where are you from and how did your upbringing influence your career choice?

Carol: I was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, a dominant Asian immigrant community. It was a weird place and time for me to grow up in America, as I never felt like a minority, and was more in tune with K-pop and Korean culture, (as opposed to American pop culture). So my Korean ethnicity was integral to my identity.

As first generation immigrants, our parents had sacrificed so much to move to the States, and thus they idolized the 'American Dream': the one where you go to an ivy league school, become a lawyer or doctor, stabilize your income, and garner power and respect. However, the roots of my community was in small business and entrepreneurship. The laundromats, nail salons, delis and beauty supply stores were our families' source of income, and so we were more accustomed to 'reaping what you