15 July 2014 - Best Beer HQ
Beer spotlight: Heineken
Is Heineken the most famous beer in the world? You’d certainly be hard-pressed to find another beer that spends as much on marketing.
There’s Heineken Cup rugby, the Champions League is brought to you by Heineken, there’s a tennis tournament in New Zealand, a music festival in Poland, and even James Bond now orders a Heineken instead of his usual martini (shaken, not stirred).
Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Heineken International owns nearly 200 breweries in 70 countries around the world. That makes it the second largest brewer in the world by revenue – behind only Anheuser-Busch (Corona Extra, Budweiser, Stella Artois, etc.).
History of Heineken
The company was founded in Amsterdam in 1864 by 22-year-old Dutch brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken. At first, it was his emphasis on quality that was arguably the only thing that made his venture remarkable. He soon became the first brewer in the world with his own laboratory for quality control.
It was in this lab that the company later isolated a specialised yeast strain – Heineken A-yeast – that would become the Heineken pale lager’s key ingredient. And it still is today.
Later, the keys to the Heineken kingdom (then only made up of two breweries) passed to Gerard’s son, Henry Pierre Heineken. He managed the company from 1917 to 1940. It was around this time that the company started exporting Heineken around the world.
Henry Pierre’s son, Alfred Henry Heineken started working at the company in 1940, and in 1971 was appointed chairman. It was during his reign, the third generation of Heinekens, that the brand aggressively expanded into other markets around the world.
Nowadays, Heineken is organised into regional operations – Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, America, Africa, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East. It owns too many breweries around the world to list them all here, while many breweries around the world brew Heineken under license.
The famous Heineken pale lager in the iconic green bottle contains 5% alcohol by volume, and is made of purified water, malted barley, hops and yeast. It’s yellow in colour with a malty aroma and a standard white foamy head.
Chances are it’s available at your nearest liquor store or supermarket. Seriously, it’s kind of like the beer world’s equivalent of Coca-Cola.
Notable international Heineken beer brands
Heineken International owns a world-wide portfolio of more than 200 regional and local beer brands all over the world, including these fairly notable beer brands:
Birra Moretti, Italy
Newcastle Brown Ale, United Kingdom
John Smith’s, United Kingdom
Bulmers cider, United Kingdom
Tui, New Zealand
Monteith’s, New Zealand
Dos Equis, Mexico
Zlaty Bazant, Slovakia