The homemade liquor segment accounted for 70% of unofficial alcoholic drinks in Vietnam, causing an annual loss of US$751 million to the State Budget.
These alcoholic drinks are often substandard and could have a serious impact on the drinkers’ health, with some containing high level of methanol. They are often sold during major festivals like Tet or during the year end holiday season.
Chu Th? Va Anh, Vice President of the Vietnam Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Association has called for tougher measures to end the illegal business and demands for more consumer education on the dangers of consuming such products.
Nguyen Duc Le, Deputy Director of the Operation Department, Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance shared that the production of liquor takes time because it involves multiple steps of distillation. However, some producers have skipped steps to boost production in response to the rising demand for alcohol especially during festive period, resulting in low-quality drinks. Duc Le also blamed homemade liquor for causing most of the alcohol poisoning cases in the country. His department will step up inspections across the country to crack down on the problem and employ communication strategies to encourage consumers to say no to unofficial alcoholic products.
Many of the consumers are attracted by the cheaper price of homemade liquor. Some unethical producers are even known to use industrial alcohol to produce cheap liquor which is totally unsafe for consumption.
The Food Safety Management Board of HCMC has to dispatch many teams to home distilleries for regular checks.
Recently, the Environmental Police Department of Hanoi seized 1,145 litres of homemade liquor when they were inspecting several local business households. One of the households were caught with 510 litres of liquor of unknown origin, and was fined Dong 37 million (US$1,574).