Multinational beer companies Carlsberg and Heineken are fighting to expand into Myanmar, as some of Europe’s largest brewers turn to far-flung parts of the world for growth.

Myanmar has huge potential, with 80 percent of the adult population drinks beer solely produced by Myanmar Brewery, a company linked to the country’s former ruling military. After decades of isolation, the country is beginning to warm to consumerism, and has opened up its borders and begun to welcome tourism.

Beer sales in Myanmar rose 14 percent to $265 million between 2009 and 2013, and are forecast to reach $675 million by 2018, according to Euromonitor. Myanmar is showing strength as an emerging market and both Heineken and Carlsberg consider now to be a good time for expansion.

Heineken are no stranger to emerging markets; in 1991 they made a profitable move into Vietnam, which is now their third largest market.

“The calculated risks Heineken takes in emerging markets are an important part of the company’s future growth,” said Leo Evers, head of Heineken’s business in Vietnam.

Heineken shares fell 0.7 percent to 67.60 euros at 12:21 p.m. in Amsterdam, trimming this year’s gain to 15 percent.


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