Blog: Is Vietnam about to curb late-night drinking?
Andy Morton | 27 September 2016
In May, Heineken's CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer, called Vietnam the "poster child" for international beer thanks to strong demographics and growing demand.
But is that image about to be tarnished?
The English-language VN Express today reports that Vietnam's Ministry of Health is working on new rules on alcohol consumption, which may include a ban on sales of liquor and beer after 10pm.
The rules reportedly intend to reduce the impact of excessive drinking, but they could also dent the potential of what is a major new market for global brewers. Van Boxmeer's comments above were made at a Heineken seminar in Vietnam, while Anheuser-Busch InBev opened its first brewery in the country just last year. In the past month, interest has been piqued by the forthcoming sale of the Vietnamese government's majority shares in national breweries Habeco and Sabeco, with a raft of international brewers reportedly interested.
A curb on late-night drinking, if passed, wouldn't necessarily breach below the water line Vietnam's standing with these companies, but it would lower expectations, and give cause for concern that future regulations could lower them further.
According to today's media report, the bill is expected to go before legislators in 2018. Plenty of time, therefore, for consultation.
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