Dutch brewer Heineken has plans to go global. No, not with their familiar green can that may never be spoken of in Belgium, with Belgium’s own Affligem, which has been owned by Alken-Maes and via them by Heineken since 2010.
“Heineken is and will always be the priority, but going forward our global offering will be a lot broader,” Alexis Nasard, Heineken’s chief marketing officer said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. That includes taking Affligem abbey beer global, as well as Desperadoes, the company’s tequila-flavoured beer, and Radler, a mix of beer and lemonade.
The strategy of pushing speciality beers like Affligem – as well as flavoured and low-alcohol beers – has much to do with the continuing decline in consumption of pils. The alternatives also offer higher margins which more than offset lower volumes. Lastly, the alternatives open up the possibility of new converts – people who never before would have dreamed of ordering a beer, among them women and younger people.
The exact strategy will depend on the different markets, the WSJ says: three different recipes for Radler will be available for local distributors to choose according to which local beer the lemonade is blended with. At the same time, local conditions will determine how many and which varieties of Affligem are marketed – the brewery produces a blond (pictured), dubbel, tripel and Patersvat, as well as the seasonal Christmas beer, also known as Affligem Noël.