Vietnam reaching a heady high in the global beer business

By Minh Nga   July 21, 2017 | 02:13 am PT
Vietnam reaching a heady high in the global beer business
Customers hold glasses of draught beer at a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam June 24, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Drinkers are foaming at the mouth in 'the next key battleground for brewers.'

With the Vietnamese thirst for beer seeming to know no limits, brewers are finding it hard to resist tapping into the country's fertile market.

Vietnam is forecast to lead Southeast Asia to see volume growth of 2.3 billion liters over 2016-2021, market researcher Euromonitor International said in its July report. Southeast Asia’s volume gains will even surpass those of larger regions, such as North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the report said.

An expanding Vietnamese middle class and youthful population have helped drive a 300 percent surge in beer demand since 2002, according to Euromonitor, which estimates the market was worth VND147.2 trillion ($6.5 billion) last year.

It predicts per-capita consumption will reach 40.6 liters this year, making Vietnam the biggest beer consumer in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam will be “the next key battleground for brewers”, Bloomberg cited Euromonitor as saying in a report Friday.

Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (Sabeco) and Hanoi Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (Habeco), the nation’s two largest beer companies, will submit IPO plans to the government this month, an official from the industry and trade ministry told local media last week.

“The stake-sales will create an opportunity for international companies to expand geographically, especially those still without a presence in Vietnam,” John Ditty, managing partner of KPMG Vietnam’s deals advisory unit, told Bloomberg.

A study jointly conducted by Vietnam's health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) last year showed that 77 percent of Vietnamese men drink liquor and beer, and nearly half of them drink at hazardous levels.

Nguyen Phuong Nam, an official from the WHO, said nearly 67 percent of the 1,840 traffic accident patients involved in the study had high concentrations of alcohol in their blood, and 45 percent had driven after drinking for two hours or more.

Vietnamese drank 3.8 billion liters of beer last year. That was an average of 42 liters per person, four liters more than 2015, according to data collected by the trade ministry.

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