Any industries, any businesses nowadays have to face with a lot of challenges, ranging from finance, human resource, management, operations… and of course, sales and marketing. Developing products already requires so much effort, but promoting it and competing with current competitors is also a huge obstacle, especially for start-up companies. As a successful entrepreneur, who has great knowledge in the beer industry not only in Vietnam, but around the world also, Mr. Loc Truong – Founder and
of East West Brewing Co knows how hard it can be when it comes to promote beer products in Vietnam, and his valuable sharing at ERC International’s Industry Talk
: Marketing challenges in F&B business, last Tuesday surely provide an insightful view for all the attendees.
Having known East West Brewing (EWB) for quite a long time, but not until this recent sharing from Mr. Loc that we find out EWB is developing into a FMCG corporates, not a F&B business. The company is also one of the biggest craft beers supplier in the whole HCM marketing with more than 300 retailers in town.
When being asked about the establishment of EWB, Mr. Loc shares that the accumulated knowledge and experience in the beer industry when he was in the US as well as in the first career helps him understand the overall situation of the beer industry around the world, where craft beer has been dominating. However, in Vietnam, more than 95% of the population still use lager beer (such as Heineken, Saigon, 333, Tiger…), and this is where Mr. Loc see the huge potential development for craft beer in the local market. Together with this real potential is so many challenges that he has to face with.
Craft beer is relatively expensive compared to lager beer, and this becomes one of the biggest obstacles for Mr. Loc and his business, especially with the high competitiveness of Vietnamese beer market. Then, what is his solution? Mr. Loc from the very beginning of East West Brewing has been focusing greatly on the quality of the beer, the food and the environment. These bring him the great advantages of providing a premium product, which are able to target high-end customers. He also shares his great belief in quality of craft beer in general, and in his products particularly for the emerging market for craft beers in HCMC. “I dream of providing craft beer – high quality to a wider range of customers in Vietnam” he said.
One interesting fact that all ERC students and public guests remember most about Mr. Loc is that he is a happy businessman, not successful, but happy. “As long as every day, you are happy about what you have done and will be doing in your life, then it is ok”.
At the moment, from the perspective of Mr. Loc Truong and his initial vision: making EWB a famous local craft beer worldwide, the most challenging mission is not to expand the numbers of EWB stores, but to develop the brand’s manufacturing and distribution channels (ie: Circle K, Family Mart…) to reach as many consumers as possible, from that popularize craft beer to the locals.
Besides, at the third part of the talk, Mr. Loc Truong also gives advices for all the young entrepreneurs at the session, is that the completing of high school and universities as well as gaining experience from the first two jobs are very important to build a successful start-up. This helps build a very basic foundation for entrepreneurship and one should not skip these steps to jump directly to the actual market, unless you really understand how it works; or else, failure is unavoidable.
A huge thank to Mr. Loc Truong for this time and great sharing during the Industry Talk at ERC International. It is great to be inspired by such talented and successful entrepreneur like him and hopefully he will come back to ERC in the future for another great sharing session.