THE North American ''home-brew'' pub craze could soon be making a breakthrough in Asia.
Micro Brew Systems, appointed by US brew-pub giant J.V. Northwest as its exclusive representative for Asia, hopes to help get bars up and running in Hongkong and Singapore by the middle of this year.
The pubs will be brewing their own distinctive hand-crafted beer on site.
The fledgling Hongkong-based consultancy and supplier was created by three US expatriates - all Beijing business veterans - who believe the region is brimming with beer connoisseurs gasping for a pint of something a little different.
The brew-pub industry has grown steadily in the US and they now hope to copy some of that success.
Over the past four years, the industry has grown in North America by more than 30 per cent and of the 300 micro-breweries now operating in the US, 70 per cent were set up through J.V. Northwest.
So-called brew-pubs are bars or restaurants that brew their own beer to meet the tastes of local customers, instead of serving commercial beers mass-marketed by multinational breweries.
Partners Mark Myrick and Scott Parman have spent the past 12 months travelling the region carrying out research and looking for target markets.
The third partner, Mr Eric Ryan, was based in the US sourcing suppliers, brew-pub designers and experienced brew masters.
The trio, who set up the company using their own capital, expect to make their first breakthroughs in Hongkong, Singapore and China ahead of other countries in the region whose regulations they thought were not as well geared-up to cater to small-scale brewing.
''Market research has indicated one good reason brew-pubs are poised for growth in Asia is because the new affluence in the region means beer drinkers are becoming more sophisticated in their tastes and are looking for a diversity of more flavourful, richer beers,'' said Mr Myrick.
''The unique atmosphere that comes from brewing distinctive house brands, which customers can see being made, creates an ambience and customer loyalty that generic pubs and wine bars cannot touch.'' A typical brew-pub can serve two to five different house brands simultaneously and beer recipes can be changed regularly to suit customer demand.