When it comes to countries that love their beer, many of the answers are fairly obvious: Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are a few of the easy guesses among the top ten beer producing countries. But in the beer industry, these well-established markets are also stagnant. In fact, the biggest beer markets have actually seen beer consumption wane recently. Instead, large brewers are constantly on the lookout for the next emerging market with potential for huge growth: places like Nigeria, India and, as Bloomberg recently covered, Vietnam.
The beer growth statistics for Vietnam, as provided by Euromonitor International, are a bit mindboggling. Since 2002, demand for beer in the Asian nation has skyrocketed 300 percent. Consumption went from about 29 liters per person in 2011 to over 38 liters per person last year. Overall, per capita consumption is expected to go up 65 percent in the decade ending in 2021, eventually landing at around 48 liters per person. As of 2014, Vietnam ranked below Japan, South Korea and China in this stat. But recently all of those countries are seeing beer consumption decline, so by 2020, Vietnam is expected to top that list.
Part of what makes Vietnam’s beer consumption so impressive is its general lust for the fizzy stuff. According to the World Health Organization, 97 percent of Vietnam’s alcohol consumption comes in the form of beer. Meanwhile, just two percent comes in the form of spirits and a mere half a percent are in the form of wine (with “other” making up the final mystery half-percent).
Another factor making Vietnam’s market so intriguing is that two of the country’s largest three beer producers are primarily state-owned… and the government is looking to sell. Both Sabeco (which has nearly 41 percent of the market) and Habeco (which has over 18 percent) are planning to start the privatization process later this year – and many of the big boys, like Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Asahi, are interested in buying a piece of that expanding pie. “There aren’t many markets left that have the growth potential Vietnam has,” John Ditty of KPMG Vietnam told Bloomberg. Big brewers better grab their seat at the bar while they still have a chance.