HCMC craft beer truck pulls customers in droves

By Thi Ha   August 29, 2019 | 03:30 am PT
HCMC craft beer truck pulls customers in droves
The truck selling craft beer from the tap pictured in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha.
Truck selling craft beer from the tap, a U.S.-inspired business model, has become popular in Saigon within months of launch.

The vehicle with beer storage cabinets and cooking facilities has begun to appear in District 2 between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Phuc, the sales manager of the truck, said: "Guests can order and enjoy beer on the spot like a restaurant. A beer costs VND75,000-105,000 ($3.2-4.5) while food is VND85,000-150,000 ($3.7-6.5) a dish.

"If it rains, the daily turnover is VND2 million ($86.10). But if the weather is clear, the truck could earn above VND10 million ($430.6), and each truck gets over 200 people a day at weekends."

The truck also caters to parties and events, he said.

Tim Scott, the co-founder of the beer truck business, said the idea came from the U.S. After living in Vietnam for more than 10 years he had noticed that consumers were mostly familiar with industrial beer but not craft beer, and so wanted to offer a more "unique drinking experience" by brewing beer from various fruits.  

"We had initially planned to break even in half a year, but with this much interest, we’ve reached the target in just three months."

This business model is a lot less capital-intensive than opening a pub, he pointed out. For instance, his truck cost VND400 million ($17,220) to set up while a pub could cost several billion dong ($1 billion = $43,060) and have a breakeven period of 14-28 months.

Alcohol, especially beer, is widely consumed in Vietnam. Data from the Ministry of Health show Vietnamese consumed 305 million liters of liquor and 4.1 billion liters of beer in 2017, then highest in Southeast Asia and third highest in Asia after Japan and China.

According to the Vietnam Beverage Association, Vietnam spends $3.4 billion a year on beer on average, and FPT Securities has forecast annual growth of 5-6 percent.

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