Over the many years of conducting outbound mobility experiences to Vietnam, the Australian Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, and in particular executive manager Mr Phil Johns has been an extremely good friend to the program. Each year, for the past six years Phil has taken time out of his busy schedule to spend an evening with students and talk to them about life as an expatriates in Vietnam. Phil has also often arranged for colleagues to come and present to the students and then join them for dinner. This year Phil suggested we meet at the new craft brewery called the Heart of Darkness. The Heart of Darkness is a start-up business which has been in operation for less than 12 months and Phil arranged for the owner John Pemberton to speak with the students. It was also a interesting to hear Phil talk about how the Australian Chamber of Commerce had helped John as an expatriate starting a business abroad.
It was interesting to hear owner and founder John talking about his journey which led him to begin in his own craft brewery in Vietnam. John talked about how he first came to work in Asia and then how his passion for brewing saw him leave a high paid job to pursue his passion. In just under 12 months John has developed 100 different beer types as well as being invited to collaborate with large brewers such as Little Creatures Brewery from Australia. John also talk to the students about the trials and tribulations of establishing a business in a foreign country, dealing with local trades, negotiating local business ethics and the joys of being able to succeed.
John gave some great insights into developing a product for a market which previously had not existed in Vietnam and how the successful marketing has seen the brand expand throughout Asia in a very short period of time. It was also interesting to hear John talk about the support other craft brewing companies in Vietnam offer as they work together as an emerging industry to find the niche in what is traditionally a market dominated by large commercial brewers.
Above all, the main message conveyed to students was the importance of passion and belief as the starting point for future success.