It is expected that Vietnamese people will be gulping down 25 litres of beer per capita by 2010, and to satisfy that huge thirst non-state investors will be allowed to engage in limitless production, according to a draft of a beer development plan.
Local brewers will have to make room at the table for foreign competition
The draft of the Beer Industry Development Plan to 2010, which has just been finalised by the Ministry of Industry (MoI) and submitted to the government for scrutiny, is envisaged to replace the current plan that has been in place for three years and has become outdated.
“Beer production output has exceeded the [initially] planned figure and is expected to continue its rising trend,” said Phan Chi Dung, director of the MoI’s Consumption Industry, pointing to the predicted 2.5 billion litres of beer to be consumed by the end of the decade.
The existing development plan sets a target of 1.5 billion litres by 2010. However, the MoI estimates that this mark will be hit by the end of this year.
He stressed that the current development plan also needed to be revised as part of Vietnam’s efforts to adapt to WTO rules. Specifically, the draft states that all limits being applied to foreign investors’ involvement and production outputs in the brewery industry will be removed.
Another revision, Dung said, is the shift from “fixed” to “flexible” planning. “The government will only give guidelines for production outputs on a nationwide scale, which is divided into six zones, based on which beer producers are to figure out their investment themselves,” he explained.
Notably, “the new plan will encourage all economic sectors to engage in [beer production] with restrictions put