Heineken has acquired a minority stake in Dutch ready-to-drink brand Stëlz for an undisclosed sum.

Hard seltzer brand Stëlz was founded by Milan Voet and Glenn Cornelisse in 2020. The brand’s flagship range consists of 4.5% abv hard seltzers but the business also produces canned cocktails at the same strength. The most recent addition to the Stëlz portfolio was a lemon-flavoured hard iced tea.

Amsterdam-based Stëlz said it would remain “independent” but added Heineken would provide resources to help the company expand in the “beyond beer” category.

“With the advent of hard seltzer, you see a shift in social drinking culture,” Voet said. “To unlock that potential, we need expertise and strength and our big neighbour obviously has that.­ They understand the beverage market like no one else and can help us with knowledge and expertise in the retail, hospitality, and festival domains.”

Stëlz said hard-seltzer consumption in the Netherlands was growing and that it expects the drinks to account for 18% of RTD sales in 2028, up from 13% last year.

Other shareholders in Stëlz include the music company ID&T – with which Stëlz has an exclusive supplier deal for festivals – and event planning service This Is Live.

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Neither Heineken nor Stëlz has disclosed the value of the brewing giant’s investment in the company.

Maarten Schuurman, the MD for Heineken’s business in the Netherlands, said: “It is admirable how Stëlz has secured a unique position with their hard seltzer in a short time.

“On one hand, it’s about the product, but it’s especially about how Stëlz markets it in their own distinctive way: direct and straightforward, with a keen sense of the current zeitgeist and the moments when you enjoy a hard seltzer.”

Last year, Heineken acquired a minority stake in Served, the UK ready-to-drink brand co-founded by pop star Ellie Goulding. Served sells a namesake range of hard seltzers aimed at consumers seeking “a modern, health-conscious, social lifestyle”.