Today we are going to talk about the growth of craft beer in South East Asia. The big caveat being Covid-19 may have set back predicted growth.
However, indications are any setbacks should temporary. We’re still seeing new breweries open or established breweries launching new products or expanding in the region.
I am currently consulting on an expansion in Hong Kong and know of several installation projects elsewhere across SE Asia.
Growing Rates of Disposable Income
There has been growing affluence across SE Asia with an increasing demand for diversified tastes. Which has resulted in a rise of quality and varieties of beer on offer.
The net effect has seen double (in some case triple) digit growth in sales of craft beer in the region. Vietnam and The Philippines two most well-known beer drinking markets; have seen the largest growth in the number of microbrewery operations.
Then there is Thailand; which has seen substantial growth of brewers brewing overseas and importing their beer back to the Kingdom. This is an effort to overcome the strict micro-brewing laws of the country.
Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have also experienced growth in the premium beer sector. Hong Kong has at least 35 microbreweries and brewpubs according to Rate Beer.
The Growth of Craft Beer in South East Asia
Research indicates compound annual growth rate of beer consumption in the region is expected to be 5% up to 2023. Driving this growth is improved taste sophistication among millennials, the “premiumisation” of beer via craft beer and being able to get said brews delivered to your home.
In 2017 the local brewed retail market in South East Asia had an estimated value of USD 134 million. The indicators are this market should be worth USD 400 million by 2021 (SE Asia Microbrewers Insight Report 2018-2021).
It seems millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1996) in South East Asian have less brand loyalty and a readiness to try new and more sophisticated flavors.
SE Asian Craft Beer Is Finding Its Own Voice
In Vietnam we have seen Pasteur Street Brewing make Pomegranate Brut IPA. As well as Young Masters with their Days of Being Wild Mixed fermentation Foeder Program in Hong Kong.
Furthermore in The Philippines The Cebruery is using Filipino Tablea
in their Chocolate Hills Porter. These are just some examples of experimentation in beer styles being brewed across the region.
Craft breweries in Asia are finding their own voice when it comes to beer. With breweries are using techniques learnt in Europe and the US but are marrying then with local ingredients.
Like the Filipino Tablea we mentioned earlier or Furbrew in Vietnam using Pho (pronounced “Fuh”) as an inspiration for the Pho beer.
The Craft Beer Industry Has Room to Expand
Even though we have seen a rise in craft beer sales across the region. Craft
beer sales as a percentage of total beer sales is still small in SE Asia. Estimates suggest craft beer sales represent between 1-2% of total beer sales
across the region.
We can expect more craft breweries to open up in SE Asia. As greater taste
sophistication continues to develop a long with growth of craft beer in South East Asia.
It will be exciting to see what SE Asian craft brewers can offer as the continue to hone their skills in the coming years. I look forward to seeing new beer styles being created in the region.