A Dutch brewing company, founded in 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in Amsterdam. As of 2017, Heineken owns over 165 breweries in more than 70 countries. It produces 250 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders and employs approximately 73,000 people.
Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought a brewery known as De Hooiberg (the haystack) in Amsterdam. In 1869 Heineken switched to the use of bottom-fermenting yeast. In 1873 the brewery’s name changed to Heineken’s Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij (HBM), and opened a second brewery in Rotterdam in 1874. In 1886 Dr. H. Elion, a pupil of the French chemist Louis Pasteur, developed the “Heineken A-yeast” in the Heineken laboratory. This yeast is still the key ingredient of Heineken beer.
The founder’s son, Henry Pierre Heineken, managed the company from 1917 to 1940, and continued involvement with the company until 1951. During his tenure, Heineken developed techniques to maintain consistent beer quality during large-scale production.
Henry Pierre’s son, Alfred Henry “Freddy” Heineken, started working at the company in 1940, and in 1971 was appointed Chairman of the Executive Board. He was a powerful force behind Heineken’s continued global expansion, and while he retired from the Executive Board in 1989, he maintained involvement with the company until his death in 2002.
Product design has a special place in the evolution of the lager. The bottle has been free to change, while the contents have not. Heineken beer has not touched its recipe since 1873. The key to its distinctive taste continues to be yeast-A.
Heineken is noteworthy among European beers for finding success in America. It was the first beer delivered after the Prohibition. On 11 April 1933, a shipment arrived from the Old World and Americans got to taste their first sip in over a decade! Heineken was destined to become the number one imported beer in US.
This was upset when Corona penetrated the states with a distinctive long neck bottle and presentation – a slice of lime was always placed on top. After 1997, Corona easily overtook Heineken in shipments.
Heineken had to come up with some ideas, but the recipe couldn’t be touched. What could be done?
A slimmer green Heineken bottle with a longer neck arrived in New York City bars and restaurants, ahead of a national rollout by the Amsterdam brewer. The new Heineken bottle is 31.75 millimeter taller than the old bottle, with a longer, narrower neck the brewer believes makes it look more modern so it can drive in new young drinkers.
A thumb groove is designed to improve the grip and encourages drinkers to hold the bottle lower down, keeping the beer colder. A strong shoulder aims to convey an air of “masculinity and pride,” according to Heineken.
What remains a permanent feature is the green colour. Heineken stuck with this distinctive shade, over alternatives of clear or brown glass – why? The brewer knew that the appearance of the bottle created a lasting impression. Clear bottles look great, showing off the colour and texture of the beer, but green has historically been associated with high quality beer, turning the colour into a status symbol.
The instantly recognizable green logo of the world’s famous beer takes its roots in the 19th century, being first designed in the 1860s. Unfortunately, the original version of the company’s visual identity hasn’t been saved by today, but it is known, that it became a prototype for the logo from 1884, just had fewer elements on it.
Detailed history of the logo can be seen at 1000logos.
Heineken today and the future
Today Heineken International is a multibillion international company that brews and sells more than 170 kinds of beer, including premium and specialty beers. They also offer beers that are brewed specifically for regional and local markets. In five territories, Heineken owns 115 brewing plants in more than 65 countries.
Next to other brewing giants AB InBev and SABMiller, Heineken is now the third largest brewery in the world, producing 723,831,420 gallons – 2.74 billion liters – worldwide as of 2011.
It seems there is no stopping Heineken continued success. Its history and development will certainly guide the company towards further success in the future.
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