With a new 0.0% alcohol version of its namesake beer, Heineken has launched a new alcohol-free beer in 17 markets across Europe, Russia and Israel. The Dutch brewer used its partnership with Formula 1 to give Heineken 0.0 a highly visible launch platform at the Spanish Grand Prix, this weekend in Barcelona.
Heineken wants to make further inroads into the profitable segment of non-alcoholic beers which grew about 5 percent a year from 2010 to 2015. The product category offers higher margins because brewers can avoid high taxes on alcohol in many markets with consumers still willing to pay the same price as for a normal beer. On top, breweries can tap the beer market for calorie and health-conscious consumers, which usually turn away from alcohol. The product features 69 calories per 33cl bottle, which is only about half of the calories of a normal Heineken.
Heineken 0.0 is a blend of two different brews using only natural beer ingredients like water, barley, malt and hop extract fermented with Heineken's unique A-yeast. In a later process step, the alcohol is removed and the two brews are blended together.
"Both beers are not nice. You need to blend them together to make a good beer," said Willem van Waesberghe, Global Craft and Brew Master at Heineken. “Removing alcohol from regular 5% Heineken would have been easy, but it wouldn’t deliver the best tasting non-alcoholic beer. Heineken 0.0 is brewed from scratch and has a perfectly balanced taste with refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body,” he added.
The new brew is an international collaboration of Heineken. It was co-developed by Heineken’s unit in Austria. Christian Huber, brewmaster at Heineken’s Wieselburg brewery said: “We brew Heineken Lager beer here in Wieselburg already for years according to the highest international standards. We also have a dealcoholisation unit at our site and we were able to contribute significantly to the development of the new Heineken 0.0 through technological leadership and know-how. The world's first production of this innovation took place in Wieselburg. We can be proud of that!”
Heineken 0.0 will be available both in the on and off-trade market and in various forms of packaging. The brand’s iconic green label has been turned blue – the color associated with the alcohol free category. The integrated launch campaign includes a TV commercial, digital and experiential activations plus on and off trade promotions.