Heineken to introduce new innovations to travel retail in ...

Heineken Global Duty Free is set to present a new countertop draught system, Blade, and the global duty free launch of Heineken 0.0% in response to customer demand for lighter, alcohol-free options, at the TWA World Exhibition next week.

Just removing the alcohol from regular 5% Heineken would have been easy; but that approach wouldn’t deliver the world’s best tasting non-alcoholic beer. So, we pushed the innovation boundaries – Koos Vrijlandt

Alcohol-free demand

Heineken Master Brewers used their expertise to brew what they deemed the best possible zero alcohol beer using purely natural ingredients for the non-alcoholic lager Heineken 0.0%. The result is a balanced lager with fruity notes and soft malty body.

Heineken Global Duty Free Account Manager Koos Vrijlandt explained the strategy behind Heineken 0.0%: “Global Duty Free industry growth depends on all parties fully understanding and delivering consumer demands. Heineken 0.0% is our response to increasing consumer trends for new, lighter alcohol free options. Just removing the alcohol from regular 5% Heineken would have been easy; but that approach wouldn’t deliver the world’s best tasting non-alcoholic beer. So, we pushed the innovation boundaries, challenging our brewers to craft a perfectly balanced non-alcoholic lager that fully expresses the skills, heritage and authenticity of the Heineken brand.

“Working together means we can go further together. TFWA 2017 is an opportunity to encounter the very best innovations in the industry and everyone in the Heineken team is looking forward to meeting our partners from across the globe to share our latest developments, creating opportunities to enhance their operations and enrich the consumer experience.”

Blade system

Enhancing the Heineken’s Brewlock draught system, Blade has been developed with greater operational options and benefits. Adapted from the larger-scale version, Blade is a free-standing, compact and versatile countertop draught system with simple plug and play installation, minimal cleaning and little maintenance. Like Brewlock, it delivers draught beer at brewery quality.

The blade system is eye-catching with its illuminated, transparent Heineken branded dome housing the recyclable PET kegs (eight litres) of draught beer. The beer is kept at a temperature of 2°C, guaranteeing its quality and freshness up to 30 days from the opening of the stem. The smart air compression system does not require any CO2 or other additives.

The Heineken Blade draft system in action

This ‘plug and play’ system brings a draught beer facility to locations with space challenges and also enables instant brand rotation. From its initial test launch in six markets in Europe Blade is now available with Heineken in travel retail, with a wider range of premium beers from the portfolio available in 2018, including Affligem, Tiger, Birra Moretti, Strongbow Gold.

Koos Vrijlandt added: “With Brewlock distribution on over 100 ships, Blade is the evolution of this game-changing technology, revolutionising the availability and mobility of premium draft options from our extensive portfolio in any location, creating new, flexible opportunities for our customers to maximise key yield and operational effectiveness. With a counter-top footprint of just 29cm square – that’s the depth of a sheet of A4 paper – BLADE is especially effective in optimising space in smaller outlets and for those currently limited to bottle only menus.”

Heineken global presence

Alongside Blade, the Brewlock system continues to expand its global presence, particularly in the cruise sector, and the portfolio of premium draft beers offered with the system has been expanded to include Heineken Light together with Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale, and Strongbow Gold apple cider.

Launched in 2016, Brewlock offers a keg system 25% lighter than regular draught systems and is 100% disposable, creating logistical, quality and cost benefits. The award-winning system is now operational on around 100 cruise-ships and ferries across the globe and has inspired the new Blade system.

Earlier this year Heineken acquired the remaining stake in the Lagunitas brand, which launched in California in 1993 and is now seeking to expand the brand’s global distribution, including travel retail. Lagunitas is the fourth largest craft brewery in the US, with over twenty beers across several styles, including Sours, Wheats, Pils and Whiskey barrel aged stout. The brand is also positioning its Lagunitas IPA to become a global leader in IPA, the most popular category within craft beers.

Following the majority-holding acquisition of Red Stripe in late 2015, Heineken has accelerated its distribution in the cruise sector.