April 25, 2016
A warm, tropical climate, a booming middle class with an inherent love of beer equals the $4.5billion beer economy of Vietnam. According to the the Vietnam Beverage Association 3.4 billion liters or 898 million gallons of beer were consumed in 2015, making Vietnam one of the largest per-capita beer drinking countries in Asia.
The most popular beer in Vietnam is Bia Hoi, a fresh beer produced by hundreds of breweries throughout the country. Bia Hoi is similar to a lighter draft beer, has no preservatives and is usually consumed the day it is brewed. Bia Hoi leaves breweries in 100-liter barrels and is then split up into plastic containers for distribution to bars, restaurants, stores and street vendors local to each brewery. Bia Hoi costs roughly .20 cents per glass and is usually served over ice.
While the beer market majority comes from mass-produced beers such as Sabeco, Sapporo, and Anheuser Busch InBev, craft beer companies are now gaining a small portion of the market, due to entrepreneurial expats from the US, Australia, and several European countries bringing their beer making skills to Vietnam. The unique, flavorful, higher-alcohol craft beers are wildly popular.
The Pasteur Street Brewing Company is an example of the growing craft beer sector in Vietnam. PSB openedin January 2015 as a small local craft brewery and has sprouted into a success story. Pasteur Street beers can now be found in 55 outlets across Vietnam, and the company has begun to export beer to several countries including the US and Japan.
Last August, Bia CraftArtisan Ales opened the first craft beer club in Ho Chi Minh City and has found great success with their unique beer flavors, savory menu items and sleek venue. Other beer clubs are now popping up, catering to people looking for anything from a trendy business lunch to a first-class dressy club night out complete with DJ, dancing and gourmet menu items.
There are also modest street-front beer clubs where you can pull up, park your moped or bike, have a quick cold one and be on your way.
An icy cold brew on a warm day is one of the best things in life.