lived in korea for a decade. i hate so-maek (soju+maekju[korean for beer]). CASS really took over the market in the late 2010s and it is as vile a "beer" as is almost possible to make, incredibly carbonated industrial-vegetal swill of 4.5%, it was extremely cheap but almost hard to get drunk on due to the way it filled your stomach with gas. adding the cheap, also industrial and artificially sweetened green bottle style soju made it more potent, but a very nasty drink usually just done shot style to get it down. bad taste, bad hangovers.
beer and other alcohol quality has been increasing since about 2018 though in korea a lot. you can get legitimately good soju fairly easily if you know what to look for ie. they state what grains are used or it has a regional designation, but they are still a far cry from the amazing quality and variety of japanese shochu. the japanese shochu industry was given a lot of incentive (going from memory here) to develop on a small, local scale for decades and imho if you can really choose over in japan from the sweet potato and barley shochus you get some of the most amazing expressions of these starches distilled i've ever had for incredibly good value. i miss that stuff so much.