Business Essentials for Professionals


With New Zero Alcohol Beer, Heineken Targets Global Leadership

With New Zero Alcohol Beer, Heineken Targets Global Leadership
With the aim of becoming the global leader in a part of the market growing faster than the average, Dutch brewer Heineken has launched a non-alcoholic version of its namesake beer.
The world's second largest beer maker will sell the product in 17 markets, across Europe and also Russia and Israel, unlike rivals which have non-alcoholic beers for individual markets and it has launched the "Heineken 0.0" at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Heineken believes that there is an increasing desire among consumers for beer that will not get them drunk and the company is hoping to tap into that segment. According to research group Canadean, while the overall beer market shrank, the European market for zero alcohol beer grew about 5 percent a year from 2010 to 2015.
Rival AB InBev is aiming to make a fifth of its beer low or zero alcohol by 2025. The company makes more than a quarter of the world's beer. Low means an alcohol content of up to 3.5 percent for the maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, low means an alcohol content of up to 3.5 percent.
Zero alcohol beers could be seen muscling in on the soft drinks market with what they say is a more natural and healthier option and could offer brewers higher margins.
For example, half the calories of standard Heineken or Coca-Cola is present in Heineken 0.0.
The brewer notes that in Spain zero strength beer has about a 10 percent market share and does not have a target for zero alcohol beer like AB InBev.
"You could expect 10 to 15 years down the road this would be more or less the global trend. We want to make Heineken the leading global beer brand in 0.0," senior Heineken brand director Gianluca Di Tondo said.
Tastes is a key reason why zero alcohol beer has failed on previous occasions, beer critics say.
Either because the fermentation process was cut short or because flavours were lost as alcohol was boiled off, many previous and existing non-alcoholic beers were too sweet and malty, said Heineken brewmaster Willem van Waesberghe.
Van Waesberghe believes the company has found a brew that recreates some of the fruity, bitter and acidic tastes found in a normal 5 percent Heineken but recognizes that a beer without alcohol will not taste the same.
To prepare the alcohol less beer, the company removes the alcohol and blends together two separate beers after it brews them and creates different qualities in them.
"Both beers are not nice. You need to blend them together to make a good beer," he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc