TAIWAN – Dutch multinational brewing giant Heineken is set to become the first international beer maker with a brewery in Taiwan after reaching an agreement to acquire a subsidiary brewery of Taiwan’s Sanyo Whisbih Group.

The Dutch company said it has received approval from the Ministry of Economic Affairs Investment Commission in Taiwan to assume majority ownership and management rights of the Long Chuan Zuan Co. brewery in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township.

The move comes 35 years after the Heineken beer was first introduced to the Taiwanese market and almost 20 years after the company’s first Taiwan office was established

Headquartered in Taipei, Heineken Taiwan has six offices across the nation, with annual revenue of NT$6 billion (US$202.62 million), the Dutch company revealed.

Taiwan is Heineken’s second-largest export market in the world, after the US, the company said, and Heineken Taiwan distributes Heineken, Tiger, Strongbow, and Edelweiss beer brands.

As of 2019, Heineken had about 165 breweries in more than 70 countries, according to the company’s data.

As in most of Asia, beer accounts for the lion’s share of alcohol sales in Taiwan by both volume and sales value, attaining nearly US$13 billion in sales in 2020, according to Mersol&Luo.

Although nearly half of all beers sold in Taiwan are lagers, other varieties such as wheat, IPAs, and stronger-flavored beers like stout are growing in popularity.

The market research firm says with strong fundamentals, sophisticated consumers, and growing demand for most categories of imported beer, wine, spirits, and liqueurs, should be a top consideration for any brand considering entry or considering expansion in Asia.

It further projects the Island nation’s alcohol market worth over US$20 billion to grow by 6.47% CAGR through 2025.

The growth is attributed to increasing incomes and consumer preferences in favor of higher quality beverages.

Investment of US$90M in Mexican can manufacturing plant

Meanwhile, Heineken is also investing 1.8 billion pesos (US$90 million) to construct a can manufacturing plant in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua near its brewery in the town of Mequoi.

The beermaker said it had seen increased demand for cans in the country, as other national alcoholic drink producers like Becle, Jose Cuervo’s parent company, say they are struggling to obtain glasses to bottle their spirits.

Around 40% of beer in Mexico is currently made in cans, while the rest is made in glass bottles, according to the National Chamber of Beer and Malted Drinks.

The plant, Heineken’s seventh in the country, will bring around 120 direct jobs after opening and around 150 during the construction phase, Reuters reported.

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