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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Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Jun 2016: Heineken took a step in a new direction with regards to its sports sponsorship portfolio. Traditionally associated with football and rugby, the Dutch brewer will now become a top tier sponsor of Formula 1 motor-racing at a cost rumoured to be as much as E180m over five years. There's a certain inherent irony in such a partnership, reflected in its associated slogan "If you drink, never drive"; however Heineken has recently adopted a high profile commitment to responsible drinking, and this message will be a major feature of the new sponsorship. Heineken will become the official global beer of F1, and the official "Event Title Partner" of three Grand Prix races, but will not appear on any cars.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th May 2016: Heineken is searching for a second media agency to work alongside main current partner Starcom MediaVest. The brewer stressed that it is not looking to replace Starcom but to find a complementary offer for the 40 or so smaller markets where it does not currently use the Publicis-owned network. So why not simply appoint Starcom for those markets as well? This situation has been generated, at least in part, by the Groupe's decision to reduce the focus of networks such as Starcom, or indeed Leo Burnett or Saatchi, only on larger or more lucrative ad markets. All duties of those networks in smaller markets will be subsumed into the catch-all Publicis ONE entity. Clearly that may not appeal to all clients.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Feb 2016: Mirroring the general trend, Heineken's Euro-denominated results got an extra lift from the same currency headwinds that are denting US companies. Consolidated revenues rose by 6.5%, topping E20bn for the first time at E20.5bn. A little over half of that increase came from foreign exchange, and part of the rest from pricing, but beer volumes were also up by a solid 2%. However net profit jumped by an ever more impressive 25% to almost E1.9bn.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: Ads of the Week "Nature's Wonder". Ever wondered what *really* causes the Northern Lights? Don't believe the science books. Here's an entertaining - and lavishly budgeted - new spot from Heineken's longtime Dutch agency TBWA Neboko. Does the fact that the ad is made in English constitute a challenge to newly appointed Publicis for management of the global account?
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Oct 2015: Diageo and Heineken agreed to swap a selection of beer assets in emerging markets. Heineken will take control of Jamaican brewer Desnoe & Geddoes, makers of Red Stripe lager, as well as full ownership of the Guinness licensee in Malaysia and Singapore that was previously a joint venture between the two companies. In return, it will surrender its minority stake in Guinness Ghana Breweries - allowing Diageo to increase control of its Guinness operations across Africa - and also make a cash payment of $780m to the British group.
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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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