The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 124

january/february 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  73 Under Five Points' leadership, production of Red Stripe amber lager recently returned to its birthplace of Jamaica, while Newcastle is set for a brand relaunch with new packaging in the early months of 2018. At the conference, however, all eyes were on Five Points' relative portfolio "underdogs" Prestige and Tiger: the first beer to hail from Haiti and Singapore's wildly-popular premium Asian lager, respectively. Both brands have enabled Heineken USA to explore how much potential lies in prioritizing products with proven appeal in expatriate communities while making them "locally relevant" for American consumers, as well. Littlefield said Tiger held "the most far-reaching potential of all of our brands" in terms of growth as he announced plans for Heineken USA to add 8,000 new placements and grow the brand's U.S. busi- ness by 80 percent in 2018. Effectively targeting the Asian-American demographic—the country's fastest-growing multicultural segment with roughly $1.7 trillion in purchasing power—through Tiger "will be a gamechanger for decades to come" in terms of the company's future growth, den Elzen added. Make Room for Cider (and Some New Gadgets) Heineken's cider brand Strongbow hails from the U.K., where the category is slightly more popular than it is stateside . . . for now. As a member of the company's "Core Four" lineup and the number-two cider brand in the U.S., Strongbow "enlarges" Heineken's presence in the market while acting as a natural bridge for wine consumers, den Elzen said. With cider "projected to return to growth" in 2018, according to Heineken USA's Vice President of Marketing for Portfolio Brands Jessica Robinson, Strongbow is seeking to access the roughly 35 million-plus non-beer drinking consumers in the U.S. by launching a new Rosé Apple flavor this spring: an alternative to wine that refresh- ingly walks the line between crisp and sweet. Other innovations discussed at NDC include a new-and-improved interface for Taproom by Heineken, the company's online distributor and partner platform; expanded on-premise engagement with StarBar (a program that teaches bar professionals how to pour the perfect Heineken); the new Red Star Solutions app that allows trade members to generate sell sheets with "locally-relevant insights"; and The Blade, an easy-to-use draught unit with minimal maintenance needs and a small footprint. Heineken's 18-pack Coolerpack cardboard packaging that doubles as an ice bucket will also see accelerated distribution in 2018. Occasion-Based Branding With beer down 2.2 percent in 2017, Heineken USA's Senior Brand Director Quinn Kilbury shifted the conversation to the company's plan for long-term success in a shifting climate. As Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Nuno Teles later elaborated, brand loyalty is down: "It makes marketing even more challenging and interesting," and facing those challenges starts with a "very strong brand portfo- lio," he told the NDC crowd. With spirits and wine increasingly chipping away at beer's share of the alcoholic beverage market—especially among Millennial consum- ers—Heineken USA is implementing a major shift in its marketing strategy in the new year. That shift can be summarized as "occasion-based programming" that matches a Heineken brand with every beer-friendly scenario: casual hangouts with friends, which account for about 30 percent of beer volume in the U.S., with Dos Equis; a potluck or barbeque with Tecate or Tecate Light, the country's fastest-growing light brand; and celebrations and parties with a cold bottle of Heineken. Expect to see plenty of occasion-focused advertising and activations from Heineken both on- and on-premise in 2018—after all, "at the end of the day, beer is the first social network," Tecate President Esther Garcia quipped during the conference. NDC attendees had the opportunity to sample some new products, including Strongbow Rosé Apple, during the conference's Expo showcase. Chas Littlefield, General Manager of Heineken's Five Points Trading Company division, says its portfolio of seven beers from around the world provides a hyperlocal alternative to mainstream brands.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - January / February 2018