Thailand: Energy drinks billionaire targets large-scale beer brewing as next venture

Thai business magnate Sathien Sathientham, who made his £1.2 billion fortune through energy drink brand Carabao Dang, has targeted large-scale beer brewing as his next venture, The Drinks Business reported on July 7.

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Source:  Company news

Sathientham, who recently changed his surname from Setthasit, has invested 4 billion baht (£90 million) to build a factory in the centre of Thailand.

Investment is being made through Tawandang Brewery, a business established by the billionaire last year, and the first batch of beer is expected by the end of the year.

Distribution will be provided by Bangkok-listed company Carabao Group, the energy drink maker named after a popular rock band which Sathientham co-founded in 2002, as reported by Forbes.

The business magnate is listed as number 26 on the Forbes list of Thailand’s 50 Richest. His £1.2 billion fortune stems largely from the energy drinks company, the other co-founders of which are singer Yuenyong Opakul, who goes by the stage name of Aed Carabao, and business partner Nutchamai Thanombooncharoen, who ranks on the Forbes list at number 38.

The energy drinks billionaire plans to harness 3% of Thailand’s domestic beer market in the first year of operations, the total of which is estimated at 257 billion baht (£5.7 billion).

Earlier this year, Thai brewer-turned-politician Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, a member of the Move Forward party, took on the alcohol duopoly in the country.

After winning the most seats in a 14 May general election, Limjittrakorn revealed to Reuters that his party’s election win could assist in giving him a shot at breaking up Boon Rawd Brewery and ThaiBev, which have historically held the nation in a stranglehold regarding the production of alcohol.

According to a February 2022 report by Krungsri Research, Boon Rawd currently controls a 57.9% share of the beer category followed by Singapore-listed ThaiBev at 34.3% and Thai Asia Pacific Brewery at 4.7% showing the imbalance within the marketplace.

Limjittrakorn, who was reportedly once arrested for illegal brewing, has been doing what he can to overhaul strict regulations for years, but reached an agreement in May with prospective coalition partners that include promising measures to “abolish monopolies and promote fair competition in all industries, such as alcoholic beverages”.

However, Damien Yeo, consumer and retail analyst at research firm BMI, told reporters: “Over the long run, both ThaiBev and Boon Rawd have plenty going for them that will help them maintain a healthy lead over any potential new competitors” and indicated that both of the current companies in control had a greater understanding of the regulatory issues within the market.

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