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Bottoms Up: Alcohol Consumption Exploding in Vietnam

While this may come as no surprise to anyone who has driven past one of Saigon's many raucous beer clubs, Vietnam is home to one of the fastest-growing alcohol markets in the world.

Nikkei Asian Review reports the average Vietnamese adult consumed 6.6 liters of alcohol in 2015, up 70% from 2005. Meanwhile, beer consumption in 2015 hit 3.4 million kiloliters, a 41% rise from 2010. 

As a result, alcohol companies are expanding production to meet Vietnam's growing thirst for booze. According to Nikkei, Heineken Vietnam plans to expand its beer production capacity 12-fold by 2025.

Meanwhile Sabeco and Habeco, the massive state-owned brewers who control a combined 65% of the domestic market, will be privatized next year. This investment opportunity has drawn attention from global behemoths like Heineken, Asahi Group Holdings, Kirin Holdings and Thai Beverage, the news outlet reports. 

Beer production has increased for 15 straight years in Vietnam, an unmatched rate in Asia. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, opened its first Vietnamese plant in Binh Duong last year, according to Nikkei, while Sapporo released a new, cheaper beer in July.

However beer companies aren't the only ones taking advantage of Vietnam's booming consumption. Ladofoods, which supplies 50% of domestically produced wine, plans to double its annual production capacity by 2018, the news source reports. 

It is also working to move upmarket by importing soil and grapevines from Italy while hiring European experts to advise them on wine production. Currently, Ladofoods sells wine for an average of VND100,000 per bottle, but it hopes that improved quality will help it sell products for up to VND3 million in the near future.

Meanwhile, Channel News Asia recently reported on Saigon's ever-growing craft beer scene, which offers tipplers more adventurous brews using local ingredients such as durian, jasmine and passionfruit.

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