Asia Pacific Breweries has struck an agreement with Molson Coors to brew and distribute Coors Light in Vietnam.

APB, the Singapore-based brewer in which Heineken owns a 42% stake, said today (26 May) that Coors Light will become the first US brand to join its stable of over 40 beer brands available in the Asia-Pacific region.

Coors Light will be brewed at APB's South Vietnam brewery for distribution to key cities including Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Da Nang. The Tiger Beer brewer had recently expanded capacity at the site by 50% to 2.3m hectolitres.

Chris Kidd, APB's regional director for Indo-China, said: "Tiger and Heineken have risen to the stature of market leaders in Vietnam's premium beer segment and are the key volume drivers for APB. However, we believe that the consumers in Vietnam are open to wider choices. We have found Coors Light to complement our existing portfolio of beers and is a good addition to cater to Vietnamese who seek premium brands but with a lighter taste."

Tony Hicks, business development director for Asia at Molson Coors added: "This is the perfect time to launch Coors Light in Vietnam as more and more contemporary drinkers seek the new experience of premium and easy drinking beers."

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry has estimated that the beer market in Vietnam has grown by 15% in two years to stand at 15m hl in 2005.

APB runs brewing operations in nine countries in Asia-Pacific including Singapore, Vietnam, China and New Zealand. The brewer is understood to be leading the race for the Asian brewing assets of Foster's Group, which includes breweries in Vietnam, China and India.