Heineken is expecting markets in Brazil and Mexcio to continue embracing its premium brands

Heineken is expecting markets in Brazil and Mexcio to continue embracing its premium brands

Heineken's Americas boss has predicted that the premium beer sector will account for 20% of the beer markets in Brazil and Mexico over the next ten years.

Speaking to analysts and investors late last week, John Nicolson, Heineken's Americas region president, said Mexico in particular is a “large and untapped opportunity” for the company. Heineken has rejuvenated its key brands in the region - Carta Blanca, Tecate and Dos Equis – through an investment programme, he said, while the Heineken brand was launched in “key” Mexican cities in March 2011.

“We think it is easy to see these markets all gravitate towards 20% premium market over ten years,” said Nicolson. “We believe it will move relatively quickly and we think our competition, Grupo Modelo and Anheuser-Busch InBev, will try to do the same thing. We see enormous activity at the top end of the market.”

Asked about pricing in Mexico, he said: “I think it's a market that can take higher prices: The Mexican economy is going to get going again.”

Nicolson was also quizzed on whether Heineken would consider entering the craft beer market. But, he said: “We have to fix Heineken, we have to make the chart keep going up ... . In itself (craft beer), I don't see it as an attraction.

“The big guys trying to do the small guys' job is never that successful, people get so confused. I think the craft guys are doing a very good job for beer long term and we have to do a good job for Heineken long term and Newcastle (Brown Ale) – that's our play against those brown beers.”

Earlier he said that Heineken is aiming to be the leading "upscale" beer company in the US, through re-invigorating the Heineken brand and "accelerating expansion" of Dos Equis.

On the US economy in general, Nicolson said he was “encouraged by the numbers that have come out in the last few months”.

Heineken's overall Americas strategy was to “win in specific markets and segments to drive value growth across the region”, he said.