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Attwood moves past Heineken hangover

Bottles of Corona beer are pictured in a supermarket in Mexico City in September. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP
Bottles of Corona beer are pictured in a supermarket in Mexico City in September. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP

Attwood moves past Heineken hangover

Sales of Thai and American-owned beer brands have helped distributor Attwood Import-Export Group deepen its penetration of Cambodia’s premium beer market and offset the loss of its Heineken distribution rights, the company’s chief executive said yesterday.

Attwood announced in September that it had inked a deal with Anheuser Busch InBev, the world’s largest beverage company, for the exclusive right to import Budweiser to the Kingdom. It has also secured rights to distribute InBev brands Corona and Becks, as well as Thai beer Chang, since losing its licence to distribute Heineken in a messy dispute two years ago.

The firm lost the lucrative Heineken contract after holding a monopoly on the Dutch lager for 17 years. Heineken Asia-Pacific awarded the distribution rights to Cambodia Brewery Limited (CBL) following its full acquisition of the local brewery, which also produces Tiger and Anchor beer.

Attwood CEO Tan Ser Chhay said beer distribution rights acquired since losing the Heineken contract, particularly for Budweiser, have made up for the loss of sales.

“Right now, volume-wise, I would say we have already caught up to Heineken beer with sales of Budweiser, Corona and Chang,” he said. “I would say Budweiser [accounts for] about 40 to 50 percent of our beer imports.”

Chhay said Attwood would look to develop its current brands, though could consider adding additional products from InBev’s portfolio, which includes Foster’s, Leffe and Stella Artois.

“We will not sign with any other beer company because we have an exclusive deal with Anheuser Busch InBev, so if we were to do any new product it would be in a different category or maybe in something within that portfolio.”

In addition to beers, Attwood holds distribution rights for well-known liquors including Hennessy, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray.

“Going forward we will concentrate on beer and whisky, but we are also looking forward to focus on our products and maybe move into importing non-alcoholic products,” Chhay said.

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