Craft beers take on could of mainstream brews in beer-guzzling Vietnam

By | November 30, 2016

HO CHI MINH City: A microbrewery in Vietnam the moment created durian beer, defying the urban myth that mixing liquor and Southeast Asia’s king of fruit could destroy you.

No a person died ingesting the Pasteur Street Brewing Company’s durian wheat ale, but it was not a hit with customers.

“I was bartending below at the time and people today would ask: ‘Oh you have that durian beer?’” The company’s Canadian advertising and marketing manager Mischa Smith mentioned with a chuckle. “I’d give them a very little sip, they’ll taste it and say, “Okay, do you have just about anything else?’” 

Bubbling UP 

Durian ale is no extended on the menu at Pasteur Street’s little thirty-seat bar in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, replaced in its place by flavours like jasmine, passion fruit, chocolate and even bacon.

It is a person of a escalating range of craft breweries that have bubbled up in Vietnam’s first-tier cities in the past two a long time, and guiding them is an eclectic blend of expatriates who are betting on the taste and wide range of their brews to stand out in a market ruled by domestic and global giants these types of as Saigon Beer and Heineken.

Vietnam drank 3.6 billion litres of beer in 2015, ranking fifth in Asia and holding its title of Southeast Asia’s major beer guzzler. Thanks to a robust beer society and a youthful population of ninety three million, beer suppliers see Vietnam as the next turning position for progress in the region, according to Euromonitor Global.

A range of craft beers at a Vietnamese microbrewery Pasteur Street Brewing Corporation. 

Facts reveals beer usage grew 6 per cent in 2015, of which imported beers getting the most dynamic at sixteen per cent in total quantity conditions. Consumers are achieving out for imported beers from Western nations around the world, which are seen as the more healthy, much better tasting and a classier drink for higher-revenue Vietnamese.

This section of the market is what craft brewers want to faucet. But competition is rigid – Vietnam’s craft beer start out-ups are up towards the multimillion dollar advertising and marketing strategies, considerable distribution networks and proven model names of the huge boys.  


Craft beer can often be “too different” for the rising Vietnamese market, which needs time and convincing, mentioned Mark Comerton of Platinum Drinks.

“We tried to release a golden ale that was unfiltered, that intended it was a very little bit cloudy,” the Irishman told Channel NewsAsia.

The look did not go down nicely with Vietnamese customers utilised to the clarity of lagers. Distributors started off returning the kegs stating “There has to be some thing completely wrong with this,” Comerton mentioned. “But we held robust, tried to do more education and learning and conveying, ‘No, this is how it’s supposed to be created.’”

Rates of a range of craft beers at Pasteur Street Brewing Corporation in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Much more significant perhaps is the cost position. In a place where the most affordable beer can be uncovered on the streets for as very little as US$.forty, can craft beer with its premium cost tag of US$2 and up genuinely flow for the Vietnamese?

“You’re paying for what you get,” mentioned Brian Vo, a university college student and craft beer standard who belongs to the country’s nicely-travelled urban center class.

Talk to any one on the road, having said that, and probabilities are most have never heard of craft beer, besides for bia hoi, the watery forty-cent draught brewed by tiny impartial brewers and uncovered simply in tiny bars, places to eat and road stands specifically in northern Vietnam. 

Bia hoi: Cheap, refreshing and created contemporary day-to-day.  

Very long Highway TO PREMIUMISATION 

Impending industry agitations spell intense competition in Vietnam’s beer market. The govt is transferring to sell off significant stakes in condition-owned beer giants Sabeco and Habeco, the brewers of Saigon Beer and Hanoi Beer, drawing interest from international rivals like Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Asahi.

Craft brewers are unfazed, buoyed by total market progress and their self esteem in Vietnam’s extensive highway to “premiumisation”, an industry phrase for consumers’ willingness to fork out more for high priced liquor.

“If huge international beer providers were to deliver in their possess craft beers, it would enable teach a market where craft beer is continue to in its infancy,” mentioned Marc Djandji, a Pasteur Street shareholder and head of institutional income at RongViet Securities.

The weeknight group at the Pasteur Street bar states it all. In a total household of expatriates and travellers, 34-year-old Vietnamese architect Binh stands out as a noticeable minority.

“The mainstream beers are all the exact, so I come below for a different taste,” he mentioned.  

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