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    You are here: Company information - Heineken UK Limited, Head Office

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    Company information

    Heineken UK Limited, Head Office

    Great Britain and N.I., Edinburgh

    27.12.2017   UK: London's Brixton Brewery partners with Heineken UK    ( )

    London’s Brixton Brewery has partnered with Heineken UK in a move that will see it increase capacity almost tenfold. Heineken will acquire an undisclosed minority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum. Following the investment, Brixton will move from its existing 3,500-hl (3,000-BBL) site on Brixton Station Road to a new 15,000-square-foot space on Milkwood Road, less than a half mile away, Good Beer Hunting reported on November 28.

    Local couples Jez and Libby Galaun and Mike Ross and Xochitl Benjamin founded the brewery in Brixton, South London, in 2013. The new site, which is expected to be operational by April 2018, is expected to produce approximately 30,000 hl (21,300 BBLs) of beer annually.

    As reported recently by GBH, London’s brewing industry is continuing to experience a strong growth curve. This has made it an increasingly tempting market for the industry's biggest players. Recently SABMiller and, subsequently, Asahi acquired Meantime Brewing. ZX Ventures, the venture capital arm of AB InBev, purchased Camden Town Brewery in December 2015. And earlier this year, Carlsberg, in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery, acquired London Fields Brewery in a deal reportedly worth £4 million ($5.3 mln).

    Heineken’s move is far more cautious, however, having only bought a minority stake in the four-year-old Brixton. Its expansion is also far less significant than Camden Town’s move to its brand new 200,000 hl (170,000 BBLs) production brewery earlier this year. In fact, the move will still see Brixton remain smaller than some of London’s larger independent craft breweries, including both Beavertown and Fourpure.

    “We’ve had one eye on other locations ever since we started the brewery,” co-founder Jez Galaun tells GBH. “We always felt that we wanted to grow and that it needed to be here in Brixton—that was something we weren’t prepared to compromise on.”

    Galaun says the brewery had looked at several financing options for its expansion, including crowdfunding, private investment, and private equity. But it was Heineken, who originally contacted the brewery a year ago, that proved to be the right fit. Galaun says it’s the “most ideal partnership for us.”

    “We could see how well they were working with Lagunitas in the U.S.,” Galaun adds. “They loved our beers, were excited about our brand, and asked if there was a way we could work together. We didn’t really know where that would lead to, but as talks went on we got to know them and we trusted them.”

    Galaun didn’t disclose the percentage of the business sold nor the amount that Heineken invested, but he does cite Brooklyn Brewery, which is 25% owned by Japan’s Kirin Brewery and has distribution and production ties to Denmark’s Carlsberg, as a major influence.

    Lagunitas, which initially sold a 50% stake of its business to Heineken for a reported $500 million in 2015, eventually sold the remaining portion of the business. The family-owned Dutch brewing giant went on to acquire the California based brewery outright in early 2017.

    Big breweries taking a minority stake in their craft counterparts is becoming increasingly common as the industry looks for new ways to sustain growth. Brooklyn’s aforementioned deal with Kirin being one example, Founders selling a 30% stake to San Miguel Mahou in 2014 is another. With both brewery and private equity money moving around in ever-greater amounts, the question of what being “independent” means has seldom been asked more frequently.

    But does the difference between private equity and brewery investment mean anything to consumers? BrewDog—which sold a 22% stake to private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners earlier this year—is another interesting example. In GBH’s recent podcast episode with BrewDog co-founder James Watt, he described minority investments by breweries as an “eventual path to control.” It remains to be seen if, as with Lagunitas before them, this will be the eventual fate of Brixton.

    “We set ourselves certain criteria with regards to our expansion,” Galaun continues. “Firstly, that we need to expand in Brixton—this is our home. Secondly, that the four founders would continue to lead the business and maintain the majority stake, which is what we’ve done.”

    The expansion means that after more than a year of being unable to meet growing demand for its beers, Brixton will finally be able to make amends with existing customers as well as make its beer available to new accounts. It also means that the brewery will be creating a minimum of 30 new jobs within Brixton over the next five years.

    “It was vital to us to keep a production business in Brixton,” co-founder Xochitl Benjamin tells GBH. “We’re excited about finally being able to achieve what we set out to do when we initially opened the brewery in 2013.”

    16.05.2017   UK: Heineken announces launch of Heineken 0.0    ( )

    Heineken on May 12 announced the launch of new drink Heineken 0.0, an alcohol-free version of its flagship lager, in the UK, the Business Insider reported.

    The launch comes as consumers increasingly shun boozy drinks in favour of healthier options. Market research company Euromonitor International said on May 11 that the global alcoholic drinks market declined for the second year in a row in 2016. The volume of alcohol sold last year declined 0.2%, following a 0.8% fall in 2015.

    The trend for "clean living" in the US and European markets has led to slowdown in alcohol sales. Figures from the UK Office for National Statistics released earlier this month show drinking rates in Britain are declining. 56.9% of people aged 16 and over had a drink in the week before being interviewed, down from 64.2% in 2005.

    Heineken says in the release announcing 0.0 that the drink taps into the "growing cultural trend around the importance of responsible alcohol consumption and living a balanced, healthy lifestyle."

    Gianluca Di Tondo, Heineken's senior director of global brand, says in a release on May 12: "The zero alcohol segment in Europe and Russia grew with a 5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2010 to 2015. We expect this strong growth to continue, driven by good innovation on taste, as it already has in Spain, Germany and Austria.

    "Our ambition is to lead the category development in the markets where non-alcoholic beer is still small, but has growth potential, with a premium proposition."

    Heineken is rolling out the new beer in 17 markets this year including the UK.
    21.04.2017   UK: Heineken to invest £20 mln to transform pubs across the UK    ( )

    Heineken has announced a £20 mln investment to transform pubs across the UK, the Development Finance Today reported.

    The funds will be used to upgrade Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars estate, with around half the money earmarked for rural and suburban pubs.

    Among the changes will be new kitchens, comfortable outdoor spaces and areas for events.

    Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Vibrant pubs are an affordable, fun place where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together.

    “But as consumer demands have changed, pubs that struggled to keep pace have closed.

    “We believe pubs run by skilled operators and backed by transformational investment can thrive in their role at the heart of communities.”

    Some 70% of the funding will be spent on transformational projects over £100,000.

    Star will also spend nearly £3 mln on maintenance and repairs this year.

    Heineken’s decision follows research which found that 62% of pub goers want their local to offer good food, 37% look for a nice pub garden and 20% want to watch live sport on TV.

    Over the past five years, the company has invested around £100 mln in transforming pubs across the country.

    John Longden, chief executive of licensee advice organisation Pub Is the Hub, added: “Pubs are increasingly being recognised as important social hubs for communities, driving local economies and supporting local employment.

    “Many communities are lacking investment so Heineken’s ongoing commitment to revive and refurbish their pubs in order to deliver the services and activities communities need, is very good news for everyone.”
    29.03.2017   UK: Britain's largest supermarket scraps more than half of Heineken range in response to ...    ( )

    ... brewer’s plan to hike prices

    Tesco has scrapped more than half of its Heineken beer and cider range, after the brewing giant unveiled plans to hike prices in response to the pound's decline following the Brexit vote, the International Business Times reported on March 22.

    According to the Times, Britain's largest supermarket has reduced the number of Heineken products on its shelves from 53 at the start of the year to 22. Tiger, Amstel, Sol and Kingfisher are among the beers to have disappeared from Tesco's stores.

    A spokesman for the company was quoted as saying the decision was motivated by the intent to better match the range of beers and ciders to customers' needs.

    In January, Heineken said it would raise prices by an average of 6p per pint, blaming its decision on "prevailing economic conditions", chief among them being sterling's 16% drop in the months following Britain's vote in favour of leaving the European Union.

    A weaker pound makes imports more expensive and even though the majority of beers brewed in Britain are made with home-grown ingredients, brewers have been hit by higher transport and energy costs.

    It is not the first time Tesco and one of its major suppliers has become embroiled in a price row.

    In October last year, a squabble blew up between the retailer and Unilever, when the Anglo-Dutch firm raised wholesale prices by 10% forcing the supermarket to cover the rising costs of goods made abroad since June's Brexit vote.

    However, Tesco, which has a 28% share of the UK grocery market, refused to pay, pulling popular Unilever products such as Marmite, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Persil detergents off its online shopping platforms.

    The corporate row, dubbed Marmitegate at the time, was soon resolved and Unilever products returned to all Tesco stores but only after the government was forced to intervene.
    07.03.2017   UK: Heineken launches two new beers for 'beer-curious' drinkers    ( )

    Heineken has launched two beers under new brand Maltsmiths, Morning Advertiser reported on February 23.

    The two beers, a Bavarian-style pilsner and an American-style IPA (both 4.6% ABV), were brewed at the company’s Caledonian brewery but will be released under the Maltsmiths brand across the on-trade on 27 March after being unveiled at the Craft Beer Rising festival in London this week.

    Heineken said it wanted to target “beer-curious” drinkers – customers looking for an accessible entrance point into the craft beer market – with the two brews.

    It will be available on draught, in cans (330ml) and in bottles (330ml).

    Sam Fielding, new beer team director at Heineken UK, said: “It’s not for use to define what is or isn’t craft beer. We have brewed two beautiful beers that will appeal to the more curious drinker.

    ”Despite brewing the two beers at Caledonian Brewery, Heineken opted not to release them under the already-established Caledonian brand so it could focus on showcasing the company’s younger brewing talent, he added.

    “We are confident that if you put this in a pub where you haven’t already listed craft beer – it will perform very strongly,” he said.

    “We want to simplify and make this area less confusing for our customers.”

    Heineken launched H41, a lager made from ‘wild’ Patagonian yeast, into Laine Pub Company sites in Brighton and London on draught and in 330ml bottles, with an eye to expanding its presence in the sector if it performed well.

    The company’s eponymous lager was named 33rd in The Morning Advertiser's Top 100 Drinks list. It saw 13% volume and 15% value growth over the past year, reinforced by several sports sponsorships.

    The Competition Markets Authority has launched an investigation into Heineken’s upcoming takeover of 1,900 Punch pubs.

    The first phase of the investigation is scheduled to last until April and will decide whether the acquisition – a joint bid between Heineken and Patron Capital – risks jeopardising competition and consumer choice.
    07.03.2017   UK: Heineken to enjoy short-term Brexit benefits in the on-trade    ( )

    Heineken will enjoy the short-term Brexit benefits in the UK on-trade, trade marketing manager, Paul Gordon, was quoted as saying by Imbibe on March 2.

    ‘It has been an interesting 12 months, with the results of the referendum and the change that would bring,’ Gordon said. ‘Bizarrely what we have seen since is actually a pretty good set of results. We are seeing inflation staying quite low and production and manufacturing going up to the highest number in 17 years. We have seen unemployment go down and retail value go up.

    ‘In the short term it has been quite good but we also know behind that there is some other stuff round the corner. We know there is going to be an impact on inflation and the cost of goods if you are bringing things in from outside the UK. There could be an impact on living wage and availability of staff etc. So there is a lot of uncertainty still to come and we have yet to see the real impact of Brexit. It’s one to keep watching but it is one to enjoy the benefits of in the short term as well,’ he said at a Heineken briefing on March 2.

    The trade marketing controller said, for Heineken, it’s about taking all its insight and knowledge and applying it to products and ranges to make sure the company is giving customers the best possible opportunity to drive sales and drive consumers and value.

    ‘We really emphasise it’s about breadth rather than depth of range,’ Gordon said ahead of announcing a number of UK on-trade March launches. ‘We know if you look at the on-trade in the last eight years it has declined by about 13% since 2008. We know that’s been driven by the evolution of pubs and the decline of wet-led community pubs. We also know it’s been offset by the growth in the food areas as well.

    ‘What we have seen in food outlets is quite a lot of saturation. The growth has slowed and the overall decline of the wet-led pub has taken over again and put the whole on-trade into decline again,’ he said. But it’s not all doom and gloom, continuing, ‘The on-trade is very resilient. It has got good at evolving and finding new ways to get value for its consumers.’

    In terms of consumers aged 18-49, the number of categories they are drinking is increasing and their repertoire is growing. ‘What we also know, and are very aware of, is when they go out, the number of drinks they are drinking is declining, and the number of times and occasions they are going out is declining as well,’ he added.

    ‘Those are the positives of the challenges that are coming out of the on-trade at the moment and it is our job as a supplier to give our customers and their consumers the best value possible.’
    20.02.2017   UK: Heineken's deal to acquire pub chain Punch Taverns under antitrust probe    ( )

    Heineken's deal to acquire pub chain Punch Taverns could be under threat as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) probes the agreement, Sky News reported on February 16.

    The CMA has issued an 'invitation to comment' to interested parties as it looks at whether the deal, which will see Heineken take over almost 2,000 pubs in the UK, could result in a "substantial lessening of competition".

    Concerns have already been raised about the deal by parts of the licensed industry, and this move by the CMA will allow them to formally submit their reasons for opposing the deal.

    Heineken clinched a deal to take over the Punch Taverns company in partnership with private equity firm Patron Capital.

    The two firms successfully fought off a counterbid by Punch Taverns' co-founder, Alan McIntosh, by offering to pay 180p-per-share for the company.

    It will see Heineken acquire 1,895 UK pubs on top of the 1,100 it already controls, with Patron securing the remaining 1,329.

    The CMA said it was "considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation" and, if so, "whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition".

    It has allowed until 2 March for comments on the takeover to be submitted, and it will then decide whether to take further action on the issue by 24 April.

    A Heineken spokesman said the CMA's call for comments on the planned takeover was an "important and fully expected stage in the process to finalise our acquisition", and added: "Heineken will be fully co-operating with the CMA."

    Paul Waterson, chief execuive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, has been very vocal in his opposition of the deal and welcomed the news that the CMA will be looking into the takeover.

    "We are delighted that the CMA has chosen to listen to the concerns voiced by so many businesses, organisations and individuals within the pub and brewing industry and open an investigation into Heineken's takeover bid for Punch Taverns," he said.

    "Heineken is a global brewer, with very different priorities to their customers who often rely on hard earned local relationships to make their businesses work.

    "We know from both Heineken's words and actions that they will give preference to their own products across their estate, and this is simply not fair for brewers, publicans or consumers."

    The news comes less than 24 hours after Heineken stated in their company results that they expected the deal to complete by mid-2017.

    The brewer revealed that its profits fell by 15% last year, and that it had taken a £976m hit from global currency volatility including fluctuations in the British pound following the Brexit vote.
    (Heineken UK Limited)
    01.02.2017   UK: Carlsberg and Heineken announce beer price increases for this year    ( )

    Britain’s beer drinkers could soon shell out more for a pint of their favourite ale, as some of the biggest brewing companies plan to put prices up this year, The Sun reported on January 24.

    Carlsberg and Heineken have become the latest brewers to unveil beer price increases for 2017, affecting many of the most popular brands on the market.

    Trade magazine The Morning Advertiser reported on January 23 that Carlsberg prices were going up by 2.6 per cent on average across the board, affecting brands like Tuborg, Tetley’s, Holsten Pils, Skol and San Miguel.

    Heineken also confirmed that it would see an average price increase of 6p per pint across its brands, with a 6.6p increase for Foster’s.

    As well as Heineken, its brands include Desperados, Kronenbourg, Deuchers IPA and John Smith’s.

    While the companies have confirmed that wholesale prices are going up by an average of 6p a pint, it is not yet clear how much more drinkers will have to pay at their local pub.

    It’s likely, though, that a rise in wholesale prices will impact the price at the pump.
    31.01.2017   UK: Kingfisher Beer Europe to distribute Indonesian lager Bintang in the UK    ( )

    Kingfisher Beer Europe is set to launch popular Indonesian lager Bintang in the UK on-trade, the Morning Advertiser reported on January 18.

    The company acquired UK marketing and distribution rights from owner Multi Bintang Indonesia, which is part of the Heineken company, with an eye to expanding the brand beyond restaurants and into pubs and bars.

    Kingfisher CEO Damon Swarbrick said: “The brand is ideally positioned to capitalise on the burgeoning pan-Asian restaurant sector so we will initially be seeding it here.

    He added: “However, we believe it has much wider potential and we have already secured a number of high-profile bar listings in London and Manchester.”

    The beer, which has an ABV of 4.7%, will be available in 24x330ml and 12x620ml bottles this month.

    Swarbrick added: “While the industry continues to explore craft beer, there is clearly significant demand for premium, authentic, easy-drinking world beers. We believe Bintang is perfectly suited to meet this demand.”

    Heineken recently launched H41, a new lager made with ‘wild’ Patagonian yeast, to the UK on-trade.

    The beer, a 5.3% ABV lager, was launched exclusively into Laine Pub Company sites in London and Brighton in December with an eye to expanding its presence further in the future.

    The beer’s name is a nod to the co-ordinates of the mountain range where its yeast was found.

    Heineken brand director David Lette previously said: “We are in perfect position to explore different tastes and flavours while remaining true to our iconic product.
    30.03.2016   BULMERS GOES WILD WITH NEW FLAVOUR    ( Company news )

    Company news Bulmers is launching an innovative new flavour – Wild Blueberry & Lime – a move that will continue to drive the category and boost sales for retailers and licensees.

    Supported by a £2m ATL and BTL campaign, the launch will see Bulmers scale a flavour trend yet to be leveraged within the cider category; encouraged by research indicating young adults’ desire for flavour experimentation and bold tastes in Cider is showing no signs of slowing down.

    Bulmers Wild Blueberry & Lime is the latest addition to the Bulmers range. The new SKU comes in a 568ml bottle at 4% ABV and its eye-catching labelwill deliver huge stand out on shelf to drive impulse sales.

    Emma Sherwood-Smith, Cider Director at HEINEKEN comments:
    “Blueberries’ popularity is soaring in the UK, yet surprisingly, there is currently no mainstream blueberry flavoured cider in the market, until now.
    “The new Bulmers Wild Blueberry & Lime cider addresses both consumer demand for blueberries as well as the trend for experimenting with different flavoured ciders.
    “HEINEKEN’s expertise with NPD in cider is unrivalled and, most importantly, it works. Last year’s launch, Bulmers Zesty Blood Orange, was the biggest cider NPD of 2015. It brought one million people into the Bulmers brand, 50% of which were new to the cider category – which is good news for retailers.
    “As a result, we’re expecting drinkers to pounce on our latest offering and advise retailers to stock up.”

    Bulmers Cider Wild Blueberry & Lime will join the existing cider range which includes Bulmers Cider Zesty Bloody Orange, Bulmers Cider Crushed Red Berries & Lime, Bulmers Cider Original and Bulmers Cider Pear and will replace Bulmers Cider Bold Black Cherry.
    (Heineken UK Limited)
    15.12.2015   UK: Heineken MD named as new chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association    ( )

    Heineken UK managing director David Forde has been named as the new chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), taking on the mantle from Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame, Imbibe reported on December 10.

    Forde, who has been with Heineken for 27 years, has served on the BBPA board since January 2015. Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, becomes BBPA vice chairman, jointly with Simon Townsend of Enterprise Inns.

    Forde said: ‘I am delighted to be taking over this role today. Jonathan has done a superb job representing our industry, and I look forward to working closely with the BBPA team and its member companies over the next year.

    BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: ‘I congratulate David, who brings huge strengths and experience to this leading industry role, and we all look forward to working with him in the year ahead.

    ‘I would also like to thank Jonathan Neame, who has been a hugely successful chairman these past three years, and we are so grateful to him for his service to the industry. I would like to highlight his work helping the industry achieve a hat-trick of beer duty cuts. I know he will continue to play an active and influential role in our work.’
    15.12.2014   UK: Molson Coors closing brewery in Hampshire with more than 100 jobs at risk    ( )

    Jobs losses have been announced at a 50-year-old Manor Park brewery in Alton, Hampshire which is to close next year, BBC reported on December 8.

    Molson Coors Brewing Company said it had not been able to replace the work lost when Heineken moved its production back in-house.

    A spokesman for the firm said it was working with employees at its site in Alton to "mitigate job losses".

    East Hampshire District Council said more than 100 jobs were at risk and added it would support those affected.

    The Molson Coors spokesman said the firm was trying to "identify alternative proposals for the site" and added its priority was to support impacted employees.

    District councillor Julie Butler said the authority would hold "an immediate high level meeting" with Molson Coors, Hampshire County Council and others to respond to the closure and plan for the regeneration of the brewery site.

    The brewery is expected to close at the end of May.

    According to a company spokesperson, for the past seven years production on behalf of Heineken has equated to 75% of Manor Park’s production. The balance has been comprised of Molson Coors’ brands – namely Carling, Grolsch and Coors Light.

    Manor Park has an annual capacity of 2.6 million hectolitres and has been running close to maximum capacity in recent years. It has been a keg beer only brewery.

    Molson Coors has been aware of a looming overcapacity issue across its three industrial scale breweries, in Burton-on-Trent and in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, following notification from Heineken that it intended to terminate its contract brewing arrangement with the expiration of the current agreement in April 2015.

    Total volumes that have been brewed on behalf of Heineken are estimated at between two and three million barrels annually. In advance of the end of the contract brewing agreement, the Dutch brewer has been investing to modernise and expand Royal, its brewery in south Manchester.

    Molson Coors is currently completing a five-year, £75 million redevelopment of the Burton Brewery. The last year’s work concerns modernisation of the fermentation and filtration functions in the north brewery. These projects follow on from a £21 million investment in a high-speed bottling line.

    In contrast, recent investment at both Alton and Tadcaster has been minimal. Asked if Tadcaster was to begin a similar consultation process, the Molson Coors spokesperson commented, “Tadcaster continues to operate as business as usual.”
    19.06.2014   HEINEKEN to invest £126 million in future UK brewing, cider making and pubs    ( Company news )

    Company news HEINEKEN is to invest a total of £126 million in its UK business. This includes £50m in its Manchester Brewery and £58 million in the Hereford Cider plant; in order to modernise the facilities and expand the capacity at both sites. A further £18m will be invested in upgrading and modernising its Star Pubs & Bars estate. This commitment to the UK market and jobs was highlighted by the Prime Minister David Cameron in a visit to Liverpool today (9th June).
    This investment will ensure that HEINEKEN’s production facilities remain at the forefront of industry standards to help meet continued demand for its strong portfolio of ciders and beers. Today’s announcement demonstrates HEINEKEN’s long-term ambition to build on its leading position in the important UK market.

    £50 Million investment in Manchester brewery
    HEINEKEN Manchester is the world’s biggest brewer of Foster’s as well as home to Kronenbourg 1664 in the UK. HEINEKEN is spending £50 million to increase brewing production by approximately 2 million hectolitres per annum (around 350 million pints); and on a new kegging line which will provide pubs with quality draught beer. The Manchester Brewery is a strategic production site within its UK brewing network, and the investment will enable HEINEKEN to continue to meet strong customer demand for is brands into the future. The Manchester brewery investment will secure 240 jobs, and work will be completed in the summer of 2015.
    (Heineken UK Limited)
    03.03.2014   UK: Heineken to offer four new low and no-alcohol drinks    ( )

    Heineken is to roll out four new low and no-alcohol drinks - including two 2.8% abv ciders, The Grocer reported on February 23.

    Bulmers Five Fruit Harvest and Bulmers Indian Summer launch next month, when two additions to the Foster’s Radler low-alcohol beer brand also roll out - a lime and ginger flavour and a non-alcoholic variant.

    Heineken said it aimed to transform the market by leading development of the “lower-alcohol moderation” category. Up 62.4% year on year to £45m [IRI 52 w/e 4 January 2014], the sector could account for 5% of beer and cider sales in 10 years, it claimed.

    “An increasing number of consumers want to make informed choices on alcoholic strength preferences, which will often differ from occasion to occasion,” said off-trade MD Martin Porter. “Despite growing demand, lower-alcohol options are relatively limited, and our new variants have been created to offer a wider choice.”

    Bulmers Five Fruit Harvest is an “easy-drinking” cider made with apple, pear, plum, quince and grape; while Indian Summer is made with apples and “a hint” of ginger and cardamom. Sold in 568ml single bottles, they are designed to appeal to 18 to 34-year-olds and are targeted at midweek and after work.

    Foster’s Radler made its debut last March with a 2% abv blend of Foster’s lager and lemon, and is being expanded with a 2% abv lime & ginger variant. Both will be available in bottles and 440ml cans, being added to the Radler range for the first time. These roll out in March alongside Foster’s Radler 0.0% abv, a bottled non-alcoholic Foster’s and lemon mix.

    Heineken recommends stocking the new lines in a “clearly signposted” lower-abv section.

    While mid-strength ciders of around 2.5% abv are a fairly large market in Europe, there is a currently a very limited range of low-abv ciders available in the UK.
    08.07.2013   UK: Stella Artois may lose its crown as UK's leading lager brand    ( )

    Stella Artois could lose its crown as the UK’s leading lager brand to Foster’s in October, if its sales continue to fall at the rate they have over the past year, The Grocer reported on June, 29.
    The AB InBev-owned brand’s sales have fallen 4.6% on volumes down 7%. Meanwhile, Foster’s value sales are up 12.2% on volumes up 9%.
    If the two continue on the same trajectory, Stella will be worth £487.6 mln in October, while Foster’s will hit £492.2 mln. If Stella’s sales remained at their current level, Foster’s would overtake it in December.
    However, AB InBev’s president for the UK and Ireland Inge Plochaet said Stella’s decline, which has cost the brand £24 mln in lost sales over the past year, was an anticipated result of its strategy to drive value back into the category. Over the period, Stella cut its use of featured space deals by 34.6%.
    “Our promotional participation was at too high a level,” said Plochaet. “Of course, that comes with consequences such as revenue, market share and volume in the short term, leading to something more sustainable in the long term.”
    Heineken UK put much of Foster’s growth down to Foster’s Gold, launched in July 2011. Foster’s, with £51.2 mln growth, was the only lager out of the UK’s 10 most promoted beer & cider brands to increase featured space deals, by 8.4%.
    18.02.2013   UK: Carlsberg launches lime juice lager    ( )

    Carlsberg has launched a 2.8% abv lager blended with natural lime juice that will hit shelves this month, Off Licence News reported on February, 14.

    Carlsberg Citrus is the first new lager Carlsberg has released in several years, and it will be backed up by a multimillion-pound ad campaign.

    David Scott, director of marketing for Carlsberg UK, said: “We have responded to consumer trends and developed a lager which consumers really do find refreshing and appealing.

    “The lower strength beer category is growing 50% year-on-year (Nielsen MAT to 21/7/12) to so it makes perfect sense to develop a beer that will support our customers with a beer their consumers want.

    “This is a significant launch. It’s not only the first major brand extension for Carlsberg in a number of years, but it will also be supported by a Citrus TV advert in May as well as extensive sampling, national print advertising and PR.”

    The news follows the launch of Fosters Radler, a 2% abv cut with lemon juice that will also be on shelves in the coming weeks.

    Fosters’ brand owner Heineken believes this lower alcohol lager tier it calls the “moderation category” could be worth an extra £300 million to the UK market.

    Carlsberg Citrus and Fosters Radler will compete for market share with Carling Zest, which was launched last year.

    Carlsberg said it commissioned HPI to survey 700 consumers and reported that 70% preferred its Carlsberg Zest to rival brands.
    11.02.2013   UK: Heineken launches 2% abv Foster’s Radler    ( )

    Heineken has launched a new 2% abv Foster’s Radler with the aim of dominating a mid-strength lager category it believes could be worth an extra £300 million to the UK drinks market, Off Licence News reported on February, 8.

    The UK’s leading beer supplier calls it the “moderation” category and said it could represent a “£300 million category growth opportunity”.

    It said the "moderation" section is worth about 0.5% of the lager market, but could go up to 5%.

    After analysing a portfolio that also includes Heineken and Kronenbourg it decided Foster’s was the best placed to move into the category.

    The name Radler already exists in parts of Europe. It was first brewed in the 1920s as a thirst quencher for cyclists – Radler means cyclist in German – who stopped for a rest in the mountains.

    Radler beers are popular in Croatia, Austria and Hungary.

    By marrying the Foster’s and the Radler brands, Heineken believes it has created a drink that will sell well among drinkers that are “into body appearance and health”.

    At 2% abv, a 300ml bottle works out at just 0.6 units. It is cut with natural lemon juice, leaving a cloudy appearance and a fruity taste.

    But brand director Gayle Harrison was keen to stress: “This is not a shandy.

    “This is beer with natural lemon juice and it has a sharp taste. This is a drink coming from Foster’s, and brand that is relevant and well liked.”

    The drink will only be sold in 300ml bottles, and it will go live in early March 2013.

    It will be available in four, six, 12 and 15-packs, and it will be sold at a premium price, higher than the normal lager.

    “We think it looks premium,” said Harrison. “We decided not to put it in cans. And we think its look means it will sell at a premium price, even though there is less alcohol.

    “Consumers have got used to paying higher prices for bottled fruit cider than for other cider.”

    The launch will be supported from April with a multi-million pound through-the-line campaign, including print and outdoor advertising, in-store sampling, retail couponing and digital marketing and PR, to drive trial and awareness.

    The launch follows the 2.8% abv Carling Zest into the market, but Harrison hopes retailers will not lump these lower alcohol beers together on shelves.

    She said: “In the off-trade the key is where it sits on the fixture. It must not sit on the low-alcohol fixture.

    “People don’t go there as it has no credibility. Beer that is 2.8% isn’t driven by consumer trends – that’s just where you get a tax break.

    “We put a lot of research into coming up with this 2% abv beer and think it will work really well.

    “But it needs to sit near regular lager on the shelf, near Foster’s and Foster’s Gold as that’s where our target market is shopping.”
    09.01.2012   UK: Heineken takes back distribution of Tequila-flavoured Desperados beer    ( )

    Heineken has once again taken over the UK distribution and marketing rights for Tequila-flavoured beer brand Desperados, The Drinks Business reported on January, 4.
    The company is reprising its sales role having delegated it to SHS Sales & Marketing in 2009.
    Both companies have agreed that it is now the right time to simplify the beer’s route to market.
    Heineken will take over full responsibility on 1 February and integrate the beer into its premium and speciality brands portfolio.
    Bruce Reinders, brand director of premium lagers for Heineken UK, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with SHS Sales & Marketing.
    “Desperados is a Heineken-owned brand that is currently enjoying success in many European markets and it will make a distinctive and exciting addition to our portfolio of premium packaged lagers.”
    In return, Heineken has handed SHS control over the sales and marketing of Czech brand Krusovice, as well as the distribution of Sagres, Heineken’s Portuguese import.
    SHS’s managing director, Peter Butler, said he was “proud” of the company’s role in developing Desperados in the UK and “in Krusovice and Sagres, we see an opportunity to repeat this success by securing optimum positions for two exciting brands in the competitive UK market.”
    21.03.2011   UK: Heineken to lower the alcohol content of one of its major brands    ( )

    Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer, will lower the alcohol content of one of its major brands in the U.K. after signing a government health agreement to help reduce misuse, Bloomber reported March, 13.
    The brewer, which sells Heineken, Foster’s, Strongbow and John Smith’s, aims to remove 100 million units of alcohol from the U.K. market each year through lowering the strength of a major brand by 2013, it said in a statement, without specifying which brand.
    The Amsterdam-based brewer will also show alcohol unit information on 11 million branded glasses in the U.K. by the end of this year.
    “These two pledges represent a great start to what we hope will be a long term shared plan to improve alcohol awareness and reduce alcohol harm,” Stefan Orlowski, Heineken UK’s managing director, said in the statement.
    07.04.2010   United Kingdom: Heineken to launch Foster’s Amber Stout     ( )

    Heineken UK is to counter the launch of Guinness Black Lager with a new dark beer called Foster’s Amber Stout, the Morning Advertiser posted on April, 1.
    Heineken UK brand director Mark Given denied that the new product launch is a direct response to Diageo’s decision to stretch the Guinness brand into the lager category.
    Given said: “Foster’s Amber Stout has been in development since 2009 when we set up the Project Blarney team.
    “The product is founded on detailed research carried out with more than 2,000 consumers, which confirmed that Foster’s drinkers are more adventurous than other lager drinkers.
    “However, it also showed that, while Foster’s drinkers are receptive to the idea of drinking stout, many find the colour dark and depressing.
    “Foster’s Amber Stout will give drinkers the body and taste of a stout combined with the bright colour and refreshment of a super-chilled lager.” (
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