Heineken has lined up the launch of its Heineken Silver beer in the US, its first major innovation on its namesake, flagship brand in the market since 2019.
Pitching the product as a “lower-carb, lower-cal addition” to its lineup in the country, the Dutch brewer said Heineken Silver was an ideal fit for the US market.
“At 4% alcohol by volume, Heineken Silver is brewed specifically for the American palate with a more accessible flavour profile and 3.2g of carbs and 95 calories in a 12-oz serving,” the brewer said.
The beer will launch nationally in the US in 12-oz (354ml) bottles and 24-oz (710ml) cans, Heineken said.
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The US is a market in which Heineken has struggled, with volumes among the weakest of the big brewers and trending below the market over the last five years.
The brewer has been bullish about its prospects in the US, pointing to the success of its smaller and fast-growing FMB and craft beer roster, as well as its Dos Equis and Heineken 0.0% brands.
In a note to clients earlier this month, analysts at AllianceBernstein postulated a bolt-on acquisition deal for Heineken to acquire The Boston Beer Co. could help transform its business in the country.
“Even though Heineken does not have a production footprint in the USA, there would be significant synergies: in logistics, sales, elimination of the overhead of a quoted company, media purchasing and above all transfer of best practice,” Nadine Sarwat wrote. “Boston Beer could become an innovation hub for Heineken both in the US and globally… [and] culturally, Heineken has the best shot at maintaining Boston Beer’s ‘secret sauce’ for innovation.”
A deal for Heineken to purchase The Boston Beer Co. would double the size of Heineken’s US business – making it the fourth-largest brewer in the market by volume – and significantly increase its presence in ‘beyond beer’.
“Heineken’s current US portfolio comprises import beers only from The Netherlands (Heineken brand family) and Mexico (Dos Equis and Tecate),” Sarwat said. “With the acquisition of Boston Beer, it would gain a meaningful foothold in the beyond beer category (also often called ‘the fourth category’) with brands like Twisted Tea, Truly Hard Seltzers and the newest addition of Hard MTN Dew. It would also gain Sam Adams and Dogfish Head craft beer and Angry Orchard Cider.
A potential snag to the deal, however, could be the recent struggles faced by Boston Beer Co.’s Truly Hard Setlzer brand. The brand has suffered meaningful declines and is losing seltzer share to Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw.
Heineken is also presently in the process of finalising its purchase of South Africa’s Distell Group. “Given all of this, we don’t believe a deal is imminent,” Sarwatt said. However, we would not be surprised if one day we woke up with news of a Heineken-Boston Beer combination hitting the wires.”