What are the first countries that come to your mind when you think of craft beer? Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium? Mostly central-west Europe. Unlike the common opinion, Asian countries are brewery retail elephants. In this part of the world beer is known since Sumerian times. As an industry it was established in the 19th Century, when European brewery technologies appeared on the continent.
First, let’s try to quickly explain what the difference between craft beer and ‘regular’ beer is. Craft brewery produces much smaller amounts of drink than big companies. The focus is on higher quality and providing a unique beverage with taste and colour received from ingredients and brewing techniques specific to particular kind of beer. An idea is to stay as close to traditional techniques as possible.
Since 2009 Asia is the world’s greatest beer tycoon with China as a leader, which shouldn’t surprise anyone due to a number of customers. But our focus is on Cambodia of course.
The Kingdom became the largest craft beer producer of Southeast Asia in last ten years. All thanks to company called Kingdom Breweries.
Kingdom Breweries was founded in 2009 and it’s located in Phnom Penh. The company is co-owned by equity fund Leopard Cambodia Fund., the part of Leopard Capital LP – the pioneer foreign investor in Greater Mekong. A year later, the company released their debut beer called Clouded Leopard Pilsener, which was awarded in 2011 with a Monde Selection Gold Quality Award – a Belgian award open to food and drinks.
Currently there are four flagship products, which are:
Kingdom Pilsener – a traditional pils type lager
Kingdom IPA – (india pale ale), hoppy beer with clear bitterness and flower/fruit-like taste
Kingdom Mango IPA – a mango flavoured india pale ale
Kingdom White – a wheat beer in Belgian-style
Brewery is also producing the apple cider.
The Phnom Penh facility is also serving as a backend production hub for over 30 craft brewers in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, which makes it the most important brewery facility in this part of Asia
Kingdom Breweries’ building is not only a manufacture but also an original tourist attraction with a perfect location. You can visit the famous Taproom – uniquely designed and professionally equipped bar, where you can taste all kinds of beer manufactured in the brewery. The Taproom is also known for exciting events like Thank Goodness It’s Friday (TGIF), organised on first Friday of each month. It’s an ‘all-you-can-drink’ kind of party, where you can try other beers from Cambodia and Indochina alongside with Taproom’s food menu. The other attraction is of course a brewery tour narrated by qualified world-class brewmasters. Hotel pickups and drop-offs are also included and we all know how useful It may be in this kind of entertainments.
All information about products and tours can be found on Kingdom Breweries’ official site.
Kingdom Breweries is another example that shows how much potential lies in the Kingdom of Cambodia and how diverse are the possibilities. Even for an industry that in common opinion is not associated with this part of the world. Craft beer market is still developing in the whole world and it slowly stops being a European domain. Looking on Cambodian business opportunities and growing popularity of this beverage, we can hope that more out-of-Cambodian entrepreneurs will decide to follow in Leopard Capital’s steps.