Despite growth, Vietnam’s beer market remains established giants’ playing field

By Thi Ha   May 21, 2018 | 02:13 am PT
Despite growth, Vietnam’s beer market remains established giants’ playing field
New beer brands struggle penetrate and compete with bigger brands. Photo by Reuters
With average 5 percent annual industry growth, new beer brands have a hard time penetrating the market.

Many big companies have failed to tap into Vietnam’s competitive beer market despite steady growth, industry experts said.

Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of Vietnam Beer, Alcohol, and Beverage Association (VBA), said that only big brands such as Heineken and Sabeco are doing well, while others are struggling.

Take Sapporo for example, the company has maintained low levels of profit despite growing sales because of high operational and advertising costs, Viet said.

Other big players have been even less successful. Masan Food, whose products are staples in Vietnamese families, has yet to dominate supermarket shelves with its White Lion premium lager beer four years after its launch.

Another example would be, local dairy giant Vinamilk and British brewing company SABMiller (now belonging to Anheuser-Busch InBev). The two companies joined forces in 2006 to open a brewing venture. Their product has, however, failed to compete against other established brands and remains largely unknown. Vinamilk withdrew from the venture after just two years.

However, the market is still considered a promising ones. Vietnam’s beer industry has seen a stable 5 percent annual growth even though world’s average consumption hasn’t budged in the past decade.

According to Euromonitor’s Southeast Asia beer consumption report, Vietnam will be a noteworthy market in upcoming years given the current momentum.

The international market research company also called Vietnam as “the next battlefield for brewers.”

Vietnam consumed more than 4 billion liters of beer in 2017, according to VBA’s report.

The industry aims to produce 4.1 billion liters of beer in 2020 and 5.5 billion liters in 2035

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