The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2016

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Page 102 of 132

102  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2016 ROAD TRIP S ometimes, a brand becomes so ubiquitous that we forget it has a history— one that may be quite alive even today. In 1864, Gerard Adriaan Heineken wrote to his mother, asking for money from the wealth his parents had amassed as cheese merchants to buy a brewery. That was the start of HEINEKEN, a company that today remains family-owned—Gerard's great-granddaughter Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken owns 25% of the Dutch company—and has a presence in 192 countries, even including North Korea, and many of which have their own breweries (more about that detail soon). One hundred fifty-two years later, the company is secure in its global reach, but they want to make sure that their origin story isn't lost, and that people know them as first and foremost, a family-owned brewery focused on making great beer. "People across the world are becoming increasingly interested in knowing more about ingredients and processes," says Global Branding Director Mark van Iterson. "We are famous for our cool TV commercials and parties, but underneath [Heineken] is a real brewery. It's all natural ingredients; just like wine and whiskey; it tastes different not only place to place but year to year, and our brewers have been able to keep it more consistent." At the time of Heineken's founding, Amsterdam was in the midst of a cultural renaissance, and the city was rife with breweries, but their products were incon- sistent. In contrast, Adriaan wanted to make a clear, bright, consistent quality beer. When his product turned out well, he decided to export it—and to make it stand out to consumers, Adriaan thought of using the green glass bottle that is now its signature packaging. The Heineken bottle has become an icon, and its In Amsterdam at the "Heineken Experience," visitors proceed through an extensive interactive tour that shows all aspects of the brand. PHOTO COURTESY OF HEINEKEN HOW ONE OF EUROPE'S OLDEST BEER BRANDS STAYS CLOSE TO IT ROOTS by Rachel Signer Heineken: Behind the Iconic Star

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