Higher duties fail to stop Vietnamese from guzzling beer

By Toan Dao   May 29, 2016 | 11:58 pm PT
Vietnam’s beer production has shown no signs of slowing down this year even though the government has imposed higher taxes on the beverage.

According to the latest data from the General Statistics Office, the country produced an estimated 1.32 billion liters of beer in the first five months of this year, rising 5.7 percent from the same period in 2015.

In May alone, it produced an estimated 308.8 million liters, up 1.9 percent on-year.

The rise in the beer output in the first five months comes despite the government raising the special consumption tax on beer production to 55 percent from 50 percent at the start of the year.

The Vietnam Beverage Association said in a 2015 report that beer production and consumption in Vietnam rose 10 percent year on year to 3.4 billion liters, which is nearly 41 percent higher than in 2010.

Vietnam is currently the biggest consumer of beer in Southeast Asia and the third largest in Asia, after China and Japan, according to AFP.

On average, each Vietnamese person drank 38 liters of beer last year, more than four times higher than the global average. It is estimated that beer production in Vietnam will increase to more than 4 billion liters per year by 2020, which translates as about 60-70 liters of beer per person per year.

The country’s leading beer producer, Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corp. (Sabeco), plans to produce and sell 1.49 billion liters of beer in 2016, up 2 percent from 2015. Its beer production in 2015 stood at 1.5 billion liters, 5.2 percent higher than in 2014.

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