With millennials leaning towards fresher and lighter tipple, Heineken recently launched their Heineken Silver Draught beer in Maharashtra with the aim to make it available in other States soon. In an effort to educate the industry and the consumer, they also hosted a Star Serve programme that teaches the five steps on how their fresh draught beer should be served. Jacqueline Van Faassen, Head of International Premium Portfolio, Heineken India spoke to Bhavya Desai and Vincent Fernandes about the launch and plans moving forward. Excerpts:
The launch of the Heineken Silver Draught beer marks an important milestone for both, Heineken and United Breweries, who’ve been in India together since 2019. But while Heineken is a popular premium beer amongst the consumers, Van Fassen felt that the company was still missing on the draught experience, considering the trend where younger consumers are looking for a more fresher and lighter beer.
The beer is already popular and available in the global markets and gets its freshness from utilizing natural ingredients like its A-yeast and 100% malt. And the brand is hoping to have similar success with the product in India as well.
Hence they launched the new Heineken Silver Draught beer with the initial launch market as Mumbai, Thane and Pune, which will be supplied from their Taloja factory with an aim to expand to the other States soon, most likely Karnataka once the draught is started brewing there. Apart from Taloja where most of the Heineken beer is manufactured, the company also has brewing plants in Telangana with development underway for another brewery in Mysore, Karnataka.
But what’s interesting is that Heineken is not only looking to capitalise on their new product but also are making efforts to educate the bartenders on how to serve the beer, thereby hoping to educate the consumer touchpoints and the industry as a whole. “This week we educate 400 bartenders on how to pour Heineken draft beer. This includes 200 today in Mumbai and another 200 bartenders in Pune later this week. They are important stakeholders for us since they make sure that bring it to consumers in the best way,” says Jacqueline.
The training programme was led by Heineken’s Global Draught Master, Frank Evers, which includes the five step serve process to give the consumers the best experience of the tipple. The steps include cleaning the glass with cold water, pouring it at a 45-degree angle with the right amount of foam and finally skimming the extra foam off. The foam protects the CO2 keeping the oxygen out making the beer fresh for a longer time says Evers. What’s also unique to the beer is its brewing process, which is horizontally fermented as compared to the other lager beers which are brewed vertically.
But while serving the beer at the right temperature and with the steps seem interesting, whether the end consumer on-trade is really partaking at these points remains to be seen. But Van Fassen is confident that with the programme and efforts to educate the bartenders, once the consumers are served the beer correctly, they will identify with the quality and freshness of the product. Jacqueline is also aware of the potential of the draught beer category as a whole with a huge market that can be tapped on. She also states that the plans are that unleash the draught beer across India as soon as possible. And to do that they are focusing on activities like partnering with popular sports events like Champions League football. Recently the brand also hosted the F1 races across bars in Mumbai to further build on that social recall.
Liable for Criminal Charges
As per reports Maharashtra’s Excise Department will now, not allow to carry even 1 alcoholic bottle from Goa into Maharashtra. The news comes on the instructions of Shambhuraj Desai, the State Excise Minister due to the increase in the transport of the illicit alcohol across the border of Goa and Maharashtra.
According to the Excise officials there has been an increase in the confiscated liquor at the borders entering Maharashtra at various checkpoints, with smugglers carrying high quantity of bottles.
The Excise Minister has not only asked the officials to be strict, but also also asked them to invoke the MCOCA against them, which allows the Police to liable criminal charges. While the primary target of these will be smugglers who transport alcohol in large quantities, how this affects the regular consumer remains to be seen. Since it is common for consumers to buy alcohol at cheaper prices from Goa to bring home in other States.
Price has always been the biggest motivator for consumers to carry bottles from Goa into other States since alcohol bottles range from a disparity in pricing as it moves towards the upwards range. Most bottles have a price disparity of nearly 35-40% or more in Maharashtra/other states as compared to Goa. Although the smuggling is seen more in IMFL brands and not imported brands, a regular consumer is often seen carrying imported brands as well.
Updates for Flights from Goa:
Currently there is no indication that consumers aren’t allowed to carry alcohol in flights from Goa. While the focus of these checkpoints is expected to be on road, there isn’t any information on the alcohol carried by air by consumers. The stipulated limit for carrying alcohol from Goa is 4-5 litres by air. Although carrying even 1 bottle isn’t permitted by law, consumers do carry their stipulated limit often when flying out of Goa.
Ambrosia will try and speak to the Excise Officials to get more updates on the same and will update the article periodically. So do check back to see if there have been any changes to that rule.
With December around the corner, Goa is expecting a high influx of visitors like every year and it is expected that these users will carry alcohol back to their home States. Incase you are traveling by road then do expect some stringent checking at the Goa-Maharashtra borders, while the scenario with flights continues to be the same with no challenges yet for carrying alcohol.
But in an interview with TOI, Ravindra Awale, Kolhapur’s Excise Superintendent stated that they are going to set up portable cabins along the unattended roads between Goa and Maharashtra to plug in the smaller roots. “Right now, we have proposed action under section 93 of the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act against repeat offenders. Applying MCOCA will help bring down the number of cases.”