Cambodia’s Khmer Beverages employing Krones for its biggest expansion ever

Khmer Beverages is a success story of a brewery that had achieved 3.2 million litres in production within 7 years of its establishment, creating one of the nation’s strongest beer brands.
Meng Leang, Group President of parent company, Chip Mong Group owes this success to discipline, family and team values, as well as the fortune of engaging the right supplier – Krones for its expansion.
Chip Mong Group is a family-managed group which include a trading firm, a construction company, a joint venture with the Crown Beverages can manufacturer, and since 2011 a brewery as well, in the shape of Khmer Beverages. Eight CEOs are looking after the group’s business operations, three of them brothers of the Leang family. Meng Leang has an ambitious goal of “employing 100 CEOs in 30 years.” Judging by the speed of the company expansion, this vision is a possible feat.
Khmer Beverages came into fruition in 2009 despite Chip Mong having no prior experience in this segment. It was set up after Meng’s brother completed his apprenticeship as brewmaster at the Research and Teaching Institute for Brewing (VLB) in Berlin. The brewery was initially set up during the first two construction phases together with 2 German component suppliers. However, when it came to the 3rd and largest expansion phase, the management decided to select Krones. “Krones offered us the technology we needed and a suitable team for our growth plans. In Neutraubling, we could see with our own eyes this company is in a position to offer the whole package,” said Meng Leang.
Khmer Beverages is well-known for its Cambodia brand, a pale lager with 5% ABV. Over 90% of its beer is now sold in cans, as glass bottles are expensive and have to be imported. Beer in cans is a popular choice in Cambodia and is not about to change in the near future. In early 2017, Khmer diversified out of just one brand to launch a niche brand, a dark stout with a high 8% ABV. This is followed up with further plans in 2017 to diversify into soft drink segment. Over the next few years, Meng Leang has targeted a goal of ‘1 million hectolitres of Cambodia Water brand; 0.7 million hectolitres of Wurkz energy drink brand; 0.5 million hectolitres of Cola-Ice brand; and 0.5 million litres of the Joop juice brand.’ When combined with its goal of 4.2 million hectolitres of beer, this adds up to a total beverage output of almost 7 million hectolitres. Meng Leang also aims for 45% share of the beer market by 2022.
According to Meng Leang, Khmer Beverages owes its success to good relationship with its suppliers. “You can buy good technology, but you can’t buy a good relationship with your partners. Communication with Krones is uncomplicated and goal-driven, the Krones team knows what we want, and adapts to the challenges emerging day in, day out, so as to find the best solution. Our products are thus swiftly released on the market, and this means money flows back.”
The Chip Mong Group is continuously expanding with new ideas. The Khmer Beverages mega-project is yet to be successfully completed, but it is already now planning something new. According to Meng Leang, “We now have gained some valuable experience with products based on water.” Within 2 years, Chip Mong aims to set up production for whisky near its brewery plant at an investment of US$40 million. So, the company keeps on diversifying using Krones as its technology partner.
The following is a table which tracks Khmer Beverages history from its start to its fruitful relationship with Krones.