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.