MANDALAY Beer is one of the popular domestic beers in Myanmar.It
is brewed by Mandalay Brewery Ltd, which is owned by Myanma Foodstuff
Industries under the Ministry of Industry 1.
As indicated by its slogan ‘Since 1886’, the brewery
has in the course of its 119 years of existence gained a reputation
that continues to ensure the place of its products near the forefront
of the domestic alcoholic beverage market.
The Mandalay Brewery Factory – located at the north end
of 80th Street in Mandalay – was originally an arms and
ammunition factory founded by Prince Kanaung in 1859, during the
reign of King Mindon.
During the colonial period the building was rebuilt and transformed
into a factory to produce liquor and beer for British soldiers.
It was nationalised in 1964 and began producing rum, dry gin,
old brandy and malt whiskey, all under the Mandalay brand name.
In 1972 the factory was place under the control of the Myanma
Food and Beverage Corporation. An expanded production plan for
beer was implemented in 1982 in cooperation with Techno Export
From 1966 to 1994 the factory produced only two types Mandalay
Beer: Pale Ale and Strong Ale. In 1970 Mandalay Beer won a gold
medal at Expo ‘70 held in Japan.
Mandalay Brewery Factory now produces Lager Beer, Strong Ale
Beer, Gold Beer and Spurilina Beer.
Added to the company’s product line in 2003, Spirulina
Beer is marketed as a high-quality health supplement and anti-aging
drink. It is make with a natural micro-algae that is rich in antioxidants,
amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
Mandalay Brewery is the first factory in Southeast Asia to produce
beer using spirulina.
In the past five years the popularity of drinking beer has increased
in Myanmar, and along with this rise in interest has come growth
in the sales of domestic beers.
“Sales of Mandalay Beer have improved every year, especially
in 2003 when they increased by 50 per cent over the previous year
– we sold everything we produced that year,” said
U Thaung Myint, the manager of Mandalay Beer Factory.
The company’s status as a state-owned venture allows it
to procure raw materials and arrange production in a cost-effective
manner, which keeps costs down and boosts sales.
Mandalay Brewery imports many of the ingredients necessary to
brew and distribute beer, including malts, hops and yeast for
the brewing process, and some packaging materials such as bottles.
“We have to rely on imported materials because there are
no domestic alternatives to some ingredients like hops and malt,
which can’t be grown in Myanmar’s climate,”
said U Thaung Myint.
However, the company is seeking local alternatives to imported
packaging materials, he said.
Mandalay Brewery advertises in print media to increase sales,
but at the moment does not offer any promotions.
“During past monsoon seasons, from 2001 to 2003, we offered
one extra bottle of beer to customers who bought 12 bottles, which
resulted in a rise in sales,” said U Thaung Myint.
Most beer promotions are instead organised by distributors.
“We invite famous singers to perform at our shop each
week,” said the owner of a shop in Mayangone township in
“We usually increased the number of promotion programs
during the monsoon season when sales are slow. The best time for
beer sales is during Thingyan,” he said.
U Thaung Myint said all domestic beer manufacturers face competition
from Chinese and Thai beers imported illegally through border
towns such as Kawthaung, Tachileik and Myawaddy.
“There has been a continuous flow of cheap beers across
the border in spite of import restrictions. We cannot compete
with them because of our transportation costs,” he said.
However, domestically produced beer continues to be the favourite
choice of most people in Myanmar, so the industry has a bright
future, said U Thaung Myint.