Cambodia Beer is a common sight on the shelves of convenience stores alongside other beer brands but what one might not know is that the local brand only achieved countrywide success in the last decade, since it first came to market.
“We started with Khmer Brewery in 2009 because at the time we only knew about the production of beer,” Khmer Beverages’ President Peter Leang said.
Khmer Brewery, owned by the Chip Mong, was part of the corporation’s 13 business-unit portfolio. It quickly established itself and rose up a list dominated by foreign competition.
“In 2016, we expanded three times with the second phase involving doubling our capacity and the third being an extension of new products,” Mr Leang said.
The expansion of the business saw itself renaming the company to Khmer Beverages, in order to show inclusivity as new products energy drink Wurkz, Cambodia Water, Barley Black extra stout and Ize carbonated soft drink were added to the company’s expanding portfolio.
“For me the competition was tough when we started and, of course, in Cambodia competition is tough, very much like in every other country,” Mr Leang said, recalling his trips to countries in Europe observing the competition among brewery and beverages companies there.
However, unlike other countries, in Cambodia, there are no limitations when it comes to applying for licensing to produce beer and beverages.
“When we first came in, the two other players in the industry were big foreign players and, when they started, the demand was high and heavy marketing was not needed to promote their products,” the president says. Beer was being imported from countries such as Vietnam at the time.
The brewery production company that had initially started with the production of 0.6 million hectoliters of beer and currently produces 5 million hectoliters of beer and 2 million hectoliters of non-alcoholic beverages.
“While a company such as ours was still young, that did not mean we had to expand more. It meant being more effective and adapting to the changes in the market,” he adds.
Khmer Beverages’ entrance into the market at the time proved to be a shake-up across the industry. As President Leang says, the game has changed.
He says that the company have to be distinct in comparison with their competitors.
“We put in more effort in distribution, marketing and strategies,” he says, pointing out that as a result of their presence, his foreign competitors began pumping in more cash into their strategies in Cambodia and as a result of this the economy of the country benefited.
However when it comes to setting themselves apart from their counterparts in the industry, Mr Leang says their competitive edge has always been the fact that they are a local production. This enables them to understand the local market and not being tied to an overseas parent company allows them to make faster decisions.