Heineken first launched Desperados in France

Heineken first launched Desperados in France

Heineken and Anheuser-Busch InBev may soon lock horns in the US after the Dutch brewer told just-drinks that it is “looking at possibilities” for its Desperados brand in the country.

The move would put Desperados, the European 'spirit-beer' category leader, in direct competition with A-B InBev's US innovation Lime-a-Rita for the first time. It would also expand the flavoured beer battleground for the the two brewers after A-B InBev last week unveiled the rum-flavoured Cubanisto to go head-to-head with Desperados in the UK and France.

A Heineken spokesperson confirmed the brewer's interest in the US market today (11 March), and also said that the company plans to launch Desperados in “more than ten” new markets in the next 12 months.

Heineken is upping the global presence of Desperados after finding success with the Tequila-flavoured brand in Europe. It was first launched in France more than a decade ago and is now available in 67 markets, up from 46 three years ago, including the UK, Germany and Brazil.

A-B InBev's Bud Light extension Lime-a-Rita was launched in the US in 2012 - with new flavours added since - and has been praised for helping to prop up declining Bud Light sales as well as bringing new consumers into the overall beer category. According to A-B InBev, 50% of the incremental volumes coming in to the US beer category are from the Rita range.

To read a comment on the growing spirit-beer and “near-beer” categories in the US and Europe, click here.