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 Feb 2017: Japanese brewer Kirin called time on its ill-fated expedition into Brazil, selling its subsidiary there, the former Schincariol, to Heineken for Y77bn, or around $700m. It's a market Heineken already knows well, and the combination with its existing Bavaria business there moves the Dutch group into second place locally, though still a considerable distance behind local leader AB InBev. Kirin acquired family-owned Schincariol in 2011 for a whopping $3.9bn, but had to contend first with lawsuits brought by non-controlling family members who hadn't agreed to the deal, and then the dramatic downturn in the Brazilian economy. The sale crystallises a $3bn loss on the whole saga, though Kirin had already wrote off most of the value of the business. The deal preceded publication of solid results for Heineken for 2016, in which annual beer volumes topped 200m hl for the first time. Revenues rose by 1.4% on a reported basis (but 4.8% organic) to E20.79bn. However net profit slumped by almost 19% to E1.54bn as a result of non-cash accounting adjustments. Without those items, underlying net profit was up 2.5%.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Feb 2017: Ads of the Week: "The Invention". Needless to say, the Super Bowl dominates all watercooler conversation within the advertising industry, but it wasn't the only game in town this week. Though it shifted all of its international advertising to Publicis last year, Heineken wisely chose to retain TBWA\Neboko as its domestic agency. That shop has continued to deliver fine work for the beer; work that in our humble opinion is far superior to most of the ads we see elsewhere from Publicis. This lavish and entertaining new film surely deserves a wider audience than merely the Dutch market. Combustion engines and electricity are all well and fine, but nothing beats a cold beer at the end of the day.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Jan 2017: In Brazil, Heineken is in talks to acquire Japanese brewer Kirin's struggling local business, formerly Schincariol. It is the local #3 behind dominant player AB InBev and independent Petropolis. Heineken's Kaiser currently ranks #4 but combination with Kirin would push it into second place above Petropolis with around 18% market share. A figure of $2bn is being touted for the business, but that would represent a significant loss for Kirin, which paid almost $4bn to acquire Schincariol in 2011.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Sep 2016: Ads of the Week "When You Drive, Never Drink". Heineken's latest campaign from Publicis Italy celebrates its new sponsorship arrangement with Formula One, highlighting moments from the long career of champion driver Sir Jackie Stewart. Technically, it's a fine piece of work, with clever CGI showing Stewart repeatedly declining the offer of a beer because he's driving. But the film leaves an odd after-taste. Yes, the Don't Drink & Drive message is important, but does Heineken really need to be so nannyish. Wouldn't it have been better to keep the chauffeur at the end and allow Jackie a beer at last?
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Aug 2016: Ads of the Week "The Canvas". Heineken's latest City celebration, from new global agency Publicis, lacks the polish of work done in the past by Wieden & Kennedy but it's still quite entertaining. See how Heineken refreshes the cities other beers can't reach... oops, wrong beer! Anyway, it is a sign perhaps of Heineken's lowered creative ambitions under Publicis that we see here a return to the age-old been-there-done-that-and-got-the-t-shirt "three mates in search of a party" concept instead of W&K's more interesting "talented lone wolf in search of a hot date" approach. We still prefer W&K's enormously inventive lone wolf ads.
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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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