Vietnamese drinkers enrich brewers

Brewers and pubs are thriving thanks to Vietnamese wine and beer consumption.

Hong Binh, 35, an office worker in district 3, HCMC, said he drinks beer with his friends at least once a week, sometimes at Bo Ke, a popular restaurant, and sometimes at a restaurant on Nguyen Van Cu street in district 5.

“This is our hobby. We can enjoy them time when drinking beer,” he said, adding that he and his friends help the owners of the beer clubs get rich. 

Sabeco, the brewer with the largest market share, has capitalization value of US$3.15 billion, becoming the enterprise with the fifth largest capitalization value on the HCMC bourse, just after Vinamilk, the nation’s dairy producer, PV Gas, Vietcombank and VinGroup. 

According to Euromonitor, the increase of the middle-class income earners and young people has increased demand for wine and beer by 300% since 2002, while the market value was estimated at VND147.2 trillion in 2016. 

The market analysis firm predicted that the consumption per capita would reach 40.6 liters this year, which would make Vietnam the largest beer consumer in SE Asia. 

In its latest report, Euromonitor said that Vietnam will be the next major battlefield for brewers.

Dan tri cited a Ministry of Industry and Trade’s report as showing that each Vietnamese drank 42 litres of beer on average in 2016, an increase of 4 litres on last year. 

The industry's growth was 9.3% last year, 14.4% lower than the year-end goal because excise tax was increased by 5% to 55% last January. It will be raised to 65% next year.

Every year, Vietnam has 1 million citizens who turn 18 years old, old enough to drink. 

Binh said men can drink five bottles each time they gather. In Vietnam, drinking capacity can be a sign of men’s wealth, openness and health. 

“Vietnamese really drink too much,” said Apiradee, 28, an official of a Thai ad firm which has an office in HCM City, adding that Thais don’t drink so much, just 1-2 bottles. She said she was surprised that beer is cheap in Vietnam and that bars and beer clubs open so rapidly in Hanoi and HCM City.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, any pub or night club which sells alcoholic drinks to people under 20 will have their operation licenses revoked.

Yoshiki Otani, 50, a Japanese businessman, who specializes in importing porcelain products from Vietnam to Japan, also said that Vietnamese laws are too lax for alcohol drinkers. 

With a gross margin of 35% for food and 50% for beer, investors can take back the investment capital in beer clubs within 12 months. 

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