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The three big guys who failed to conquer the Vietnamese beer market

It’s still too early to say Aneuser-Busch Inbev (AB Inbev) would be a big threat to the existing brewery manufacturers in Vietnam. Three big guys in the field once had to leave the Vietnamese market.

VietNamNet Bridge – It’s still too early to say Aneuser-Busch Inbev (AB Inbev) would be a big threat to the existing brewery manufacturers in Vietnam. Three big guys in the field once had to leave the Vietnamese market.

Belgian brewery manufacturer rouses Vietnamese enterprises from sleep


With the high growth rate of 15 percent per annum, Vietnam is the third largest beer market in South East Asia. The Belgian brewery manufacturer might well understand what it would gain in Vietnam if it succeeds in the market. However, in order to succeed in Vietnam. It should learn the lessons from the failure experienced by the other three big names.

Laser fresh beer: the lesson about marketing

Following the success with energy drink Number One, which was marketed in 2002, Tan Hiep Phat decided to invest $200 million one year later to make bottled draft Laser, which was more expensive than Tiger and nearly the same with Heineken.

As Tan Hiep Phat targeted high income earners when launching Laser, it had to spend up to $3 million to run the advertisement campaign to popularize the product.

However, the manufacturer made a fatal mistake in defining the slogan for the product. The word “bia tuoi” (fresh beer) then led to the misunderstanding that this was a kind of products for low income earners. Meanwhile, high income earners usually ordered “bia Duc” (German beer), “bia Tiep” (Czechslovak beer) or “bia den” (black beer).

While Laser fresh beer targeted high income earners, Tan Hiep Phat could not reach out to Horeca channel, which was then considered the advertisement channel for high end beer products used at restaurants, hotels or resorts, because the channel was controlled by Heineken.

The mistakes, plus the limited financial capability both forced Tan Hiep Phat to stop making Laser draught just one year after it launched the product to the market.

Foster’s left because it didn’t understand Vietnamese taste

Foster’s brand was once famous in Vietnam with the slogan “the Australian styled beer.” At first, the slogan caught the curiosity from Vietnamese people, but it then made them feel unpleased. The problem was that the beer was sold to serve Vietnamese consumers, but it highlighted the “Australian style.”

Foster’s also made a big mistake in defining the targeted clients and the establishing the distribution network. While Foster’s targeted high income earners, it teamed up with the Tien Giang and Da Nang Breweries, which were known as the manufacturers of popular beer products.

It seemed that Foster’s made its presence in Vietnam at the wrong time, in 1998, when the Vietnamese living standard was low. Therefore, Vietnamese still turned their back to the high end product.

Finally, Foster’s had to quit the Vietnamese market in 2007 after 10 years of making helpless efforts

Zorok failed because it heavily relied on dairy producer’s distribution network

In 2007, the Vietnamese market saw the appearance of an unknown beer brand – Zorok, a product of the joint venture between Vinamilk, the Vietnamese dairy producer and SABmiller.

However, the brand quickly got well known to everybody after the brewery manufacturer successfully reached an agreement with the then Chief Coach of the football national squad Henrique Calisto, who then agreed to act as the ambassador of Zorok beer.

Just after two years of operation, Vinamilk transferred its stakes to SABmiller. Since the brewery manufacturer relied on the dairy producer’s distribution network, it has been meeting big difficulties in distributing its products.

Tri Dung


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