Vietnam beer brands and distribution

Vietnam beer brands and distribution

July 2012 - Despite the growing presence of international brewers, local firms continue to dominate the market in terms of volume. Primarily these are the state-owned Sabeco and Habeco which between them control 50-60% volume share depending on whose numbers you look at.

As an aside, if we add the claimed volume shares of all the brewers in Vietnam, we arrive at a total significantly greater than 100%. But that of course is part of the fun and the challenge in dealing with the market here. More than usual, interpretation of statistics requires some thought and a large dose of reality.

Sabeco & Habeco’s propositions sit squarely within mainstream and budget brands, including Bia Hoi, as neither brewer has ever been able to launch and support a successful premium brand.

The closest either has come is 333, available exclusively in cans until September 2010 when Sabeco launched 333 Premium in bottle. It is positioned as a premium mainstream product as a response to the consumer trend of shifting to more high-end products. The bottled product is distributed and sold in northern regions of the country.

While Sabeco and Habeco dominate the mainstream, APB has outright control of the premium sector through Heineken & Tiger.

The Heineken brand is considered by consumers as the de facto premium beer, reflected by its growth and ironically by its ubiquity.  We’re not talking small volumes here.  It had a volume share of >9% in 2010, equivalent to about 2.5 millon hL.

In fact, Vietnam is the largest market in the world for Tiger and the third largest market for Heineken (after the US and France). Heineken has in fact projected that “Vietnam will jump to second place in 2012 and could possibly steal top spot by 2015.”

But this ubiquity may of course become Heineken’s weakness as the market develops.  For our part, 2012 is the first time that we’ve seen consumers making an active choice away from the incumbents in both the mainstream and premium categories.  It appears that with some consumers there is no longer a requirement to drink what everyone else is.

We believe that this is a fundamental shift in consumer perception and will result in massive opportunity for brands that can leverage true market understanding.

Sapporo launched their eponymous brand in Vietnam in 2011.  They seem to be the first international brand to pose a serious threat to Heineken in the long term.

Beer brands brewed in Vietnam:

  SABECO HABECO Asia Pacific Breweries Carlsberg / SEAB / Hué Brewery San Miguel SAB Miller Sapporo
Premium    
  • Heineken
  • Tiger
  • Tiger Crystal
  • Amber Stout
  • Carlsberg
  • Kronenbourg 1664 (launched by S&N)
  • San Miguel Pale Pilsen
  • San Miguel Light
  • Gambrinus
  • Miller High Life
  • Castle Stout
Sapporo
Mainstream
  • 333
  • Saigon Special
  • Saigon Red
  • Truc Bach
  • Hanoi Premium
  • Hanoi Red
  • Larue Superior / Export
  • Fosters
  • BGI
  • Flag
  • Song Han
  • Larger
  • Halida
  • Halong
  • Huda
  • Festival
Red Horse Zorok  
Budget
  • Saigon Green
  • Saigon bia hoi
  • Hanoi Green
  • Hanoi bia hoi
  • Anchor bia hoi
  • Bivina ?
Viet Ha bia hoi W1N bia hoi    

A Bia Hoi dispense system: 

Vietnam Beer market categories:

The simple category summary from a share perspective is that budget, in particular Bia Hoi, is in decline and Premium is growing.

After that, the situation is complex and as usual, a lot depends on definitions.

Here is APB’s simplified take on the market volume split from 2011:

Vietnam beer consumption by Geography:

Below is a chart we put together in 2009. The numbers haven’t been updated since but what we have here shouldn’t be far off.

Key change is the addition of Larue and Sapporo as significant brands consumed in HCMC.

Vietnam beer brands & distribution

Key takeout:

It’s probably worth repeating what we wrote above.

It appears that with some consumers there is no longer a requirement to drink what everyone else is drinking.

We believe that this is a fundamental shift in consumer perception and will result in massive opportunity for brands that can leverage true market understanding.

For more information, please feel free to contact us directly.

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