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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Profits give energy drink a boost

Bacchus energy drinks are stocked on a shelf inside a grocery store in Phnom Penh
Bacchus energy drinks are stocked on a shelf inside a grocery store in Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

Profits give energy drink a boost

Shortly after the Thai manufacturer of energy drink Carabao announced expansion plans in Cambodia, a South Korean energy drink producer said it expects sales figures in the Kingdom to surge this year, according to a report.

The Korea IT Times reported yesterday that South Korean company Dong-A ST, which makes the popular canned energy drink Bacchus, made 29 billion won ($27.3 million) from the product in Cambodia last year. The amount represents 24 per cent of overseas sales figures for the beverage. At the end of this year, the company expects to have sold 100 million cans, or about eight cans per person in Cambodia, the report said.

This stands in contrast to 20 million won worth of Bacchus sales in 2009, according to the Korea IT Times.

An official for Cambodian distributor of Bacchus, Cam Gold Co, was quoted as saying that next year sales will exceed 35 billion won.

Reached yesterday, Phalla Srin, sales manager for Cam Gold Co, said sales were on the rise, but declined to provide exact figures as he was not authorised to.

One can of Bacchus costs around 2,500 riel.

Srin said that the general popularity of South Korean products in Cambodia, sometimes referred to as the Korean Wave in the region, “is a part of our increase in sales volume”, adding that Bacchus was the most popular energy drink in Cambodia.

The Post reported in June that South Korean cosmetic products were in demand in Cambodia as consumers seek to mimic fashions and looks captured in the lifestyles of South Korea’s K-Pop music stars.

Dong-A ST did not reply to an email sent yesterday.

Last month, the Thai newspaper The Nation reported that Carabao Tawandang, the Thai-based manufacturer of Carabao Dang energy drinks, plans to open a factory in Cambodia. The company could not be reached for comment to confirm
the plans.

Whether Bacchus or Carabao, drink companies are finding a welcome market in the country.

“Energy drinks have become increasingly popular in the evening because students buy them for their evening class,” Re Narith, a 17-year-old drink seller in a local restaurant in Phnom Penh, said. He added that Bacchus sells better than a variety of juices as well as Coca-Cola.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia imported about 720,000 litres of alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks in the first half of this year, a 51 per cent drop from nearly 1.5 million litres in the same period of 2012.

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