BEER drinkers in Myanmar need not look beyond the borders of
their own country for high-quality brews sold at reasonable prices.
Although imported varieties are widely available at supermarkets
and upscale pubs throughout Yangon, locals and visitors alike
are usually satisfied with tasty domestic products.
Although the number of beer drinkers in Myanmar is growing,
the relatively low spending power of many people in the country
has meant that overall sales have decreased, as each person consumes
As a result the beer market has become more competitive as manufacturers
and distributors compete for fewer kyats.
Myanmar’s domestic beer market is dominated by products
manufactured by Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL), which include Myanmar
Beer, Tiger Beer, ABC Stout and Anchor Beer brands.
Other domestic brewers include Dagon Brewery Co. Ltd –
a joint venture between the Myanmar Economic Corporation, Myanmar
Golden Star Company (MGS), and the Singapore-based Brew Invest
Company – which makes Dagon Beer and Skol Beer, and Mandalay
Brewery Ltd, owned by Myanma Foodstuff Enterprise under the Ministry
of Industry 1, which makes Mandalay Beer.
A spokesperson from one Yangon-based brewer said that doing
well in the domestic market not only requires the production of
high-quality beer but also the use of effective marketing techniques.
The spokesperson also said that most people in Myanmar prefer
brands with which they are familiar and are often unwilling to
try new products, making it difficult for new manufacturers to
break into the market.
The fact that the beer market is shrinking makes this even more
difficult, he said.
“Beer sales have decreased since last year while production
costs have gone up, but we can’t increase our prices because
it might make our products too expensive for some consumers to
afford,” the spokesperson said.
U Aung Kywe, the owner of Ginki Kids Snacks and Bar in Bahan
township, said his beer sales have remained level but prices are
likely to increase.
“When this happens only those who really like the taste
of beer will stick with it, while others will likely switch to
drinking liquor,” he said.
He said his customers are happy drinking domestic beer, so he
does not offer imports at his bar.
“Locals and foreigners, even those who prefer imported
liquor, are happy with the taste of domestic beer,” said
U Aung Kywe.
Although Ginki Kids opened four years ago, sales only took off
when it started serving Myanmar Beer, a favourite among customers,
Shoppers at retail outlets also prefer domestic beers over imported
“Most of our customers buy local beers, but we do stock
a few imports – the most popular foreign brand is Budweiser
from the US,” said a spokesperson from one Yangon-based
She said most people who purchase beer at the supermarket are
upper-class consumers who buy it to drink at home with their families.
“On the other hand, most beer station patrons are young
people or sometimes married couples who want to enjoy the entertainment
or who just like to gather with their friends,” said the
U San Win Soe, a manager of the Phyu Ni War Pyar Beer Station,
said that customers prefer draft beer to cans or bottles.
“They think draft beer tastes fresher, and they also like
the lower price,” he said.