Heineken is holding a conference in Mexico

Heineken is holding a conference in Mexico

Heineken's CEO has said the company needs to make its brands "sexy" in Europe to attract younger drinkers as baby boomers disappear from the beer market.

During a Heineken investors conference in Mexico today (5 December), Jean-François van Boxmeer said Europe's beer industry will be “rebased” in 2020, when the baby boom generation is phased out. Heineken's task will then be to attract following generations to its brands.

“People over 50 drink very little beer,” van Boxmeer said.

He added: “We have to make our brands sexy in Europe, desirable,” van Boxmeer said. “People have to love to drink beer.”

Van Boxmeer's comments follows remarks from SABMiller's Europe head, Sue Clark, who said last month that women remain a key target for the company. Clark said there is likely to be a move away from “laddish” advertising by SABMiller to more “mixed gender” campaigns.

Van Boxmeer today also said margin expansion is not the priority in Europe because it is going through a period of economic uncertainty.

“I don't want to put a margin share increase in front of having a market share increase (in Europe),” the CEO said. “That would be wrong. It would mean slashing down costs and turning up prices, which is artificial.”