|Beer is canned at the Dung Quat Brewery Co in the central province of Quang Ngai. The domestic beer and wine industry achieves an average growth rate of 10 to 15 per cent every year. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam is quickly earning a reputation as a nation of beer lovers, with alcohol sales rising rapidly and local breweries flourishing.
Now the country has attracted the world's largest beer maker, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The company's Chief Executive Carlos Brito told Reuters that Viet Nam was a natural place to go after their success in the Chinese market. Known best for its Budweiser brand, Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to make its drinks widely available in the country from late 2014 and build a large brewery to meet demand.
According to statistical research from Euromonitor International, an independent strategy research for consumer market companies, Viet Nam was the biggest consumer of beer in ASEAN in 2011 with 2.6 billion litres. In 2009 the figure was 1.6 billion litres and at the time there were 500 breweries in the country meeting the demand, including more than 400 private and small-scale producers. That number is believed to be significantly larger now.
According to Nguyen Van Viet, president of the Vietnam Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Association, the beer and wine industry achieves an average growth rate of 10 to 15 per cent every year. He said that the 100 registered and professional brewing companies produced 2.6 billion litres of beer alone, contributing VND13.6 trillion (US$647million) to the State budget - as much as 4 per cent of total revenue. With the hundreds of unregistered local producers included, the amount is estimated to be huge.
Viet revealed that the industry plans to produce 4 billion litres per year by 2020 and 6 billion litres per year by 2025.
These statistics go some way to explaining why beer brands such as Carlsberg, Heineken and SABMiller have retained a presence in the country.
Viet warned that this large-scale investment could be damaging to local beer companies, especially small-scale breweries with low-tech production capacity, but also pointed to the fact that it would take any international brewery company a lot of work to be successful in Viet Nam. He cited the examples of Fosters and Laser, who both left the market after initially exciting PR campaigns and early success. — VNS