An addition of around 1.4 billion liters of beer has been planned for brewing and consuming in the next five years in Vietnam, a US$3 billion market where beer-lovers downed more than 3.1 billion liters in 2014.
Vietnam’s total beer production and consumption are projected to reach 4.5 billion liters by 2020, up some 1.4 billion from the current figure, Duong Dinh Giam, head of the Industrial Policy and Strategy Institute, said at a seminar in Hanoi on Thursday.
The respective figures for alcohol and other beverages are 350 million liters and 8.8 billion liters, Giam said at the event on beer industry management, organized by the Vietnam Beverages Association.
The institute, managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is tasked with preparing the development plan for the country’s beer industry, according to its director.
Giam also revealed at the seminar that Vietnam is now home to 120 breweries and more than 1,700 beverage making facilities.
Local businesses are now producing around 100 million liters of alcohol per year.
But Giam said the real figure is way bigger, more than 350 million liters, given the huge number of facilities producing the product without officially registering with authorities or applying for quality certificates.
The institute head also noted that there is a behavior shift among Vietnamese drinkers, who increasingly prefer drinking beer sold in cans to that in bottles.
Consumption of bia hoi (draft beer) has slightly dropped whereas that of canned beer has soared, he elaborated, though not giving the time of comparison.
“This proves that higher living standards do affect the way of production and consumption,” he said, apparently referring to the fact that canned beer products are always more expensive than those sold in bottles.
Vietnamese people spent at least $3.1 billion drinking 3.14 billion liters of beer in 2014, excluding imported beer, according to a Vietnam Beverages Association report released earlier this year.
Phan Chi Dung, head of the light industry department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, admitted that the Vietnamese beer sector had expanded at a two-digit rate between 2005 and 2010.
“But the rate has now cooled to eight to ten percent, as in other industries,” he told the seminar.
The Vietnam Beverages Association also took advantage of Thursday’s seminar to reiterate its objection to a proposed requirement that local breweries place quality stamps on their products.
The light industry department made the proposal in 2013, saying the stamps would help ensure product quality, strengthen regulatory management, and prevent tax evasion, which has, however, won no support from local beer makers.
The beverage association said local breweries would have to spend around VND3 trillion ($139.81 million) buying stamp-placing machinery and another VND2 trillion ($93.21 million) purchasing stamps every year.
“Stamping beer products is unnecessary and while it does nothing to improve the state management of the sector, it would result in more disadvantages for businesses,” the association complained.