Belgo, brewed in-house with fresh ingredients — some shipped straight from Belgium — provides an artisanal Belgian beer experience in Vietnam. Every beer honors the rich tradition and history of Belgian beer brewing. They even have a Belgian brewmaster on board to make sure every beer meets Belgian standards. Of course, this means that craft brews also have a craft price.
So, how can you convince a country with access to some of the cheapest beer in the world to take a chance on a more expensive brew?
Taste the difference
“Belgo is about adding a twist,” adds Gauthier Lagasse, the CEO and co-founder of Belgo. “So, we knew that, in a market where mass-market beers are widely available, we needed to honor our personality and be disruptive to get people to try our beer.”
The beer brand launched a vending machine that allowed users to swap regular beers for a cold Belgo beer. Beer lovers from across the city found whatever mass-market beer they could from local convenience stores and bars and flocked to the machine to finally try a quality Belgo without having to really pay for it.
A custom-built mechanism was made using a Raspberry pi, a digital scale, and some simple electronic locks and levers. The precise weight of a 355ml can of any beer triggers the mechanism, causing it to release the electronic lock on the lever, allowing the user to swap their beer for an ice-cold Belgo in the storage.
This beer-currency promotion was launched on Ho Chi Minh City’s most prominent walking street and later implemented in the three Belgo pubs to drive more people to try their Belgian brew.
“We are a small brand, but our ambitions are large,” says Magdalena Bialasiewicz, Marketing Director at Belgo. “When you have large ambitions and a limited budget, you need to be brave in your ideas. We believe the beer-currency platform is an excellent concept to show that we don’t need a big budget to stand out and show people Belgo’s quality.”
If you missed the action at Nguyen Hue, try out the vending machine in real life at Belgo’s Le Ngo Cat pub. In the other two Belgo pubs, the promotion to swap your regular beer can for a cold Belgo is also valid until supplies last.