Heineken (Netherlands)

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Family-controlled Heineken is the world's third largest brewer and owns the best-selling premium beer brand. It manufactures its own products through a huge and wide-ranging network of 100 breweries in more than 50 countries, and licenses the operation to other companies where it doesn't have its own plant. The company also owns a wide variety of subsidiary beer brands including Amstel and Murphy's Irish Stout worldwide, Tiger in Asia, Cruzcampo and Moretti in Europe, among many others. After a slow start, Heineken has entered wholeheartedly into the consolidation of the global beer industry since 2007. That year, it launched a joint bid to break up the UK's Scottish & Newcastle in partnership with Carlsberg. Completion of that deal the following year established Heineken as the leading brewer in the UK. In 2010, it expanded its footprint in Latin America with the acquisition of Mexico's second largest brewer FEMSA, adding Sol, Tecate and Dos Equis to its worldwide portfolio. Two years later it agreed to take full control of Singaporean subsidiary Asia Pacific Breweries.

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Amstel Cruzcampo
Fischer Tiger Beer
Murphy's Heineken


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Brand Panach
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Moretti Ichnusa
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Stepan Razin Vrumona
Warka Zipfer


Heineken UK

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: In a bizarre development announced just days ahead of its coronation as Global Marketer of the Year at Cannes, Heineken announced the termination of its partnership with Wieden & Kennedy, the agency responsible for a string of widely admired ad campaigns for the brand. That dissolution follows the sudden departure of marketing chief Alexis Nasard, whose duties have been assumed by chief commercial officer Jan Derck van Karnebeek. Nasard and Wieden & Kennedy are between them almost entirely responsible for Heineken's selection for this Cannes award. Van Karnebeek issued a statement to say "We work with multiple agencies on Heineken to support the worldwide presence of the brand, and also to bring additional creative thinking. Globally we now enjoy a strong relationship with Publicis, while in many markets we are working with local agencies to deliver outstanding and effective local top-spin campaigns." Good luck with that strategy, we say. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd April 2015: Heineken's top marketer Alexis Nasard will leave the group in June following a corporate restructuring that will abolish his role. Chief strategy officer Chris Barrow is also departing the brewer. Instead, Jan Derck van Karnebeek has been appointed to a newly created role of chief commercial officer. Nasard's farewell celebrations will take place at the Cannes Lions 2015 festival at which Heineken will collect the award for Marketer Of The Year. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Nov 2014: Marketer of the Year at next summer's Cannes Lions festival will be Heineken. As usual, the award has been announced in advance. Previous winners include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Mars and Ikea. Heineken is one of only two companies ever to have won the Cannes Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness twice, in 1995 and 2013.

Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Oct 2014: Heineken has seized sponsorship of US Major League Soccer, which was recently surrendered by longtime patron Budweiser. According to reports, Heineken agreed to pay $50m for a five-year contract - around three times what Bud was paying - to match its longstanding support of football in Europe and other global markets. It is the brewer's first national sports marketing platform in the US.

Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Sep 2014: There's a growing buzz over further consolidation within the global brewing industry. This week, the family owners who still control #3 brewer Heineken publicly rebuffed a tentative approach from #2 SABMiller. That offer was itself a defensive reaction to the growing speculation that SABMiller could itself become the target of a mammoth bid from main rival AB InBev. The WSJ reported rumours that AB InBev has been talking to banks about making a $122bn offer for its smaller competitor. Despite their respective positions as the global #1 and #2 in the industry, they compete directly in comparatively few markets. Any antitrust issues could feasibly be solved by the sale of SABMiller's stakes in US-based MillerCoors and China's Snow. An alternative combination of SABMiller and Heineken would have overtaken InBev to become the new global leader in beer.

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Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: Produced from a superior form of specially developed yeast (which the company still produces exclusively in Holland and ships to its global breweries and partners), Heineken was first introduced in 1863. That year Gerard Heineken purchased "the Haystack", a brewery in Amsterdam that was already around 300 years old, and began brewing his own beers. By 1876, he was exporting to France and by 1894, to the US. The company was the first brewery to resume exports of beer to the United States following the repeal of Prohibition, and quickly established itself as the country's #1 imported beer. Meanwhile, Heineken was expanding its international operations elsewhere, forming a joint venture in Singapore in 1931, now called Asia Pacific Breweries. Other acquisitions followed in Asia, South America and Africa.

By 1955, half of the beer produced in Holland was manufactured for export, and the company continued to acquire breweries in other countries. In 1968 Heineken bought the Amstel Brewery in Holland and its own chain of international breweries. The company's growth accelerated even faster after 1971, when the business passed to Alfred "Freddy" Heineken. During the 1940s, he was sent by his father to the US to learn American marketing techniques. He put these into practice in the 1970s, making Heineken into a household name with a series of memorable marketing campaigns, not least the "Refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach" TV ads (originally created by what was then Lowe Howard-Spink in London), which ran in the UK for more than 30 years). In addition, in 1983, the brewery expanded its range to become a producer of stout through the acquisition of James J Murphy in Cork, Ireland, makers of Murphy's.

In 1991, the company cemented its position in the US, buying out long-established family-run importers Van Munching & Co. It also began to expand into Eastern Europe with the purchase of Hungary's Komaromi Sorgyar brewery. The 1990s saw a string of further acquisitions including Italian brewery Birra Moretti, France's Fischer Group, Slovakia's Zlaty Bazant and Poland's Zaklady Piwowarskie. In 1998, the group merged four Polish breweries to form Zwyiec Group. In 1999 Heineken agreed to acquire Diageo's majority stake in leading Spanish brewer Cruzcampo, merging that business with its existing El Aguila brand. However regulators forced the group to sell off all but its three leading beer brands, Heineken, El Aguila and Cruzcampo.

The group was also rumoured to be among the bidders for UK beer companies Bass and Whitbread. However Belgian arch-rival Interbrew acquired both. (Interbrew was later forced to relinquish Bass). The deal created a problem for Heineken, in that it was left without a licensing arrangement in the UK, one of its key markets. Whitbread had held the UK license for Heineken since 1968. Following the sale of its beer business to Interbrew, Whitbread leased back from the Belgian company one of the breweries included in the sale and continued to produce Heineken under license until the end of 2002 in order to satisfy their contractual obligations. 

Meanwhile Heineken continued to add to its portfolio elsewhere in the world, acquiring Gemer and Martiner breweries in Slovakia and Affligem in Belgium. Early in 2001, the group became majority shareholder in Nigerian Breweries, the #2 beermaker in Africa. It also took its first steps into Germany, acquiring a 49.9% stake in BrauHolding International, a subsidiary of German conglomerate Schorghuber.

The group extended its reach in Brazil in early 2002, increasing its stake in local brewer Kaiser, the Brazilian licensee for Heineken, to 20%. At the same time the Dutch company gave its support to the acquisition of the rest of Kaiser by Canadian brewer Molson. The group also acquired Russian brewer Bravo International, whose brands include Ohota, Botchkarov and the local license for Lowenbrau; as well as Egypt's only brewery, Al Ahram Beverages. Other purchase included a 45% stake in Karlsberg International Brand, which ranks about 12th among German brewers, in partnership with its German partner, BrauHolding; and also a 50% stake in the holding company controlling CCU.

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