Hoegaarden experiences strong growth in Asia, but is losing ground in Europe. That is why AB InBev will move part of the production to China and Vietnam: the brewery in Hoegaarden will lower cut its production days by 2 a week.
Tap into Asian demand more flexibly
The Hoegaarden brewery employed staff every day of the week, but that will drop to five days a week starting next month. On the other hand, Asian production will increase. Brewery group AB InBev invested 357 million euro in a new Chinese production facility, which includes Hoegaarden: it opened the largest Asian brewery last year.
It will also brew Hoegaarden in Vietnam this year, AB InBev Southeast Asia’s commercial director Graig Maclean said. “When we brew in China, we can tap into local demand more flexibly and transport beer from the brewery to the supermarket more rapidly. Previously, beer took six weeks to arrive”, a spokesperson explained the shift in De Tijd.
Focus brand for export
About 200,000 liters of last year’s 1.3 million hectoliters of Hoegaarden beer went to the Chinese market last year. It is not clear yet how much Hoegaarden AB InBev will brew in Vietnam.
The company already revealed it would lower its Hoegaarden investments because the beer is no longer a priority in Europe. However, it is a focus brand in Asia. Labour unions fear for the employment rate in the Hoegaarden brewery, where 170 people currently work.