When guys and girls show off their walk in closets in their new home, the
reaction is the same. Heineken captures this proud moment. May all
homes have a walk in beer closet.
The History of Heineken
The Heineken family entered the beer business in 1864, when Gerard Adriaan
Heineken bought a brewery in the heart of Amsterdam. Over the past 140
years, three generations of the Heineken family have built and expanded the
brand and the company in Europe and around the world. It is thanks to the
leadership of Gerard, Henry and Alfred Heineken that Heineken is one of the
world’s leading brewing groups. Today Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is
delegate member of the Board of directors of Heineken Holding N.V.
1864 22-year-old businessman Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchases the "The
Haystack" brewery, the largest in the region. He demands and receives full
control of shares, realising that sweeping and rapid changes are needed.
To meet increasing consumer demand, a new brewery is built in Amsterdam at
the Buitensingel. 1869 Gerard Heineken decides to switch from traditional
top fermentation to the Bavarian method of bottom fermentation, a totally
different technique that produces a clearer, purer beer, which keeps longer.
The new beer is known for its quality and is called 'Gentleman's Beer' as
opposed to 'Workman's Ale'.
A decade of fierce competition begins, with several new breweries competing
for the high-quality beer market. Heineken must again start making cheaper
workman's beers and gets into the business of cafes, hotels, and beer houses
to secure purchasers. Brewers take on the role of banks, providing credit
and extravagant extra benefits to win over clients. 1870 Due to the
Franco-Prussian war, imports of Bavarian beer dry up, causing Heineken's
sales to skyrocket. 1873 Heineken's Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij N.V.
(Heineken Breweries or HBM) is incorporated. Gerard Heineken is appointed
President and the name 'Haystack' is replaced by Heineken. The brewery stops
producing 'workman's beer'. 1874 After merging the previous year with
Oranjeboom breweries, a state-of-the-art brewery is built in Rotterdam. With
a work-floor of 3000 square metres, it is one of the most expensive and
innovative facilities of its day. 1875 Heineken beer wins a gold medal at
the International Exposition in Paris and regular shipments to the French
capital begin. Among others, the Folies Bergere signs up to receive an
annual 2000 hectolitres.
Heineken continues to expand, struggling between concessions to the market
and its belief in the high quality, and price, standards that put it on the
map in the first place. Continuing with Gerard Heineken's philosophy that,
"A good product is recommended by its use alone," the company refuses to
deploy advertising seriously, seeing it as useless and rather low-class.
Technical breakthroughs ultimately provide a critical edge. 1880 Heineken
sales top 64,000 hectolitres. The company is now the biggest exporter to
France, and in particular Paris, which is fast becoming 'the capital of the
nineteenth-century'. 1881 Cooling systems are installed in the brewery in
Amsterdam, terminating dependence on natural ice.
In 1883, cooling systems are installed in the brewery in Rotterdam. 1886
Doctor Elion, a student of Louis Pasteur, develops the A-yeast strain, still
used today to give Heineken its characteristic flavour. 1889 The innovations
begin to pay off: the brewery is awarded the gold medal of honour at the
World Exhibition in Paris, where Heineken beer is supplied to the Eiffel
tower restaurant. This award crowns the quality-focused policies of Gerard
Heineken and director Wilhelm Feltmann.
It is an age of great innovation, and one improvement quickly follows
another. The innovations are not only technical: industrial buildings like
breweries are already being recognised as important works of architecture in
their own right. The labour movement also begins to make its presence felt
on the work floor. 1890 Electric lighting is installed at the Amsterdam
brewery. 1893 Gerard Adriaan Heineken dies. Under the direction of Gerard
Heineken and Wilhelm Feltmann, HBM has grown in its first twenty years from
a small company to a large-scale industry. The groundwork has been laid for
future expansion. 1894 The end of an epoch: despite master brewer Feltmann's
hopes for his own son to take the position, J.D.A. Petersen becomes the new
director. He later marries Gerard's widow Mary Tindal, becoming stepfather
of the eight-year-old Henry Pierre Heineken.
1899 The barrel-makers submit a request for a wage increase, marking the
beginning of a long process of workers' rights negotiations.
As the business consolidates its hold on markets, employers come under
increasing pressure from workers demanding explicit agreements and better
treatment. Petersen resists pressure from old-style managers and strives for
dialogue, which ultimately results in the first collective labour
Heineken beer is honoured with a special Jury Prize in Paris. Sales of beer
brewed under Heineken's auspices increase to 200,000 hectolitres. 1901 The
year sees the first major strike and call for a boycott by workers.
Negotiations result in a rise in the minimum wage and pay for overtime. 1904
A day of rest on Sunday is introduced. 1909 The first collective bargaining
agreements are established. In Rotterdam, this means a 54-hour week and four
days off a year. As a compromise, workers no longer receive four free litres
of beer a week.
Henry Heineken comes of age and takes over the helm. He and his team
represent a new generation of leaders. With both academic credentials and
practical experience, they pioneer a new management style: socially aware
and outward looking. 1912 Competition between well-established major
breweries again increases to fever pitch. Heineken responds by reducing the
price slightly and concentrating on on-premises sales.
Henry Heineken obtains a seat on the Executive Board. Heineken welcomes its
first woman employee, a telephone operator. Sales of beer brewed under the
supervision of Heineken have now climbed to 300,000 hectolitres: 30% more
than the beginning of the century. The company begins efforts to expand to
Asia. In the United States, alcohol is banned and will remain so throughout
the decade. Modern communication and advertising come into its own as
Heineken moves into foreign markets. An international springboard is created
for future global expansion. 1923 Heineken is one of the first Dutch
companies to establish a non-contributory pension fund for employees.
H.R.H. Prince Hendrik grants HBM the rights to His Coat of Arms. H.R.H.
Queen Wilhelmina grants HBM the rights to the Royal Coat of Arms with the
title of Royal Purveyor. 1928 An aircraft writes a Heineken ad in the sky
above the Olympic Games in Amsterdam: one of the first deeds of Peter Feith,
new head of exports. Under his leadership, Heineken will take its first
steps towards becoming a truly international company.
Heineken participates for the first time in the construction of a brewery in
a tropical region. Building starts in Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies (now
Indonesia). The decade of the first great global economic depression sees
significant international expansion and technical achievements for the
company. Heineken moves decisively into the US and Asian markets. It also
further expands its social policy: during the crisis, no personnel are
fired. Rather, an early retirement scheme is applied for staff age 58 and
Heineken and Fraser & Neave in Singapore start Malayan Breweries Limited
(MBL), now Asia Pacific Breweries, operating in China, South-East Asia and
Heineken opens a pilot brewery in Rotterdam, enabling the laboratory to test
the results of its own activities. This is almost unique and critically
important for trying out new modes of operation and instruction, especially
for staff from breweries abroad.
The M.S. Statendam transports the first Heineken beer consignment to the
United States after Prohibition is lifted. This marks the beginning of
Heineken's rising popularity in the United States.
The Heineken Foundation for Personnel is established to provide extra
support to employees in the years of the Great Depression.
Heineken is listed on the stock market. The Foundation of the Central
Brewery Organisation is established, initiated by Heineken. Its aim is to
ensure a unified response by brewers during the impending war. The
Organisation ultimately prevented disbanding of breweries and requisitioning
World War II
World War II provokes a continuous decline in beer quality and production as
breweries in the Netherlands are deprived of raw materials. As the war ends,
the first signs of spectacular international expansion set in. Henry's
successor, Alfred 'Freddy' Heineken, enters the business as a sales promoter
in the US, where he will develop the marketing expertise to later
internationalise the company in the 1950s and 60s.
1940 Henry Heineken resigns from the Executive Board and is appointed
Delegate Member of the Supervisory Council (until 1951).
Alfred Henry Heineken, grandson of the founder Gerard Adriaan Heineken and
son of Henry Heineken, officially begins his career with the company.
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands grants the rights to his Coat of Arms to
The Netherlands transfers sovereignty to the new Indonesian government. The
Surabaya brewery becomes 'Heineken's Indonesian Brewery Company'. On the
international markets, the reputation of the Heineken brand name gains
In 1954, Alfred Heineken acquires the majority of shares in the company and
begins a radical modernisation. With an ardent belief in brand and
marketing, he sets about proving his conviction that 'beer can travel': it's
the beginning of a truly effective global marketing policy. 1953 The brewery
"De Sleutel" (The Key) in Dordrecht is taken over by Heineken. "De Sleutel",
established in 1433, is the oldest industrial enterprise in the Netherlands.
The brewery continues as a producer of dark beers until its closure in 1969.
1954 The rapidly growing popularity of beer dramatically influences
Heineken's domestic and export sales volumes. The Board decides to build a
new brewery in 's Hertogenbosch. 1957 The Indonesian Government appropriates
the Heineken brewery at Surabaya from 1957 until 1967. In 1967 Heineken
resumes operations of the brewery, which ultimately takes the name Multi
In order to meet the increasing demand for Heineken beer, the company
embarks on a substantial extension of the brewery in 's Hertogenbosch.
Aba, Boma, Kumasi, Kisangani, Moundou... The motto during the 1950s and 60s
is: Build and Brew. By 1960, Heineken is the market leader in Africa, and is
making giant strides elsewhere. Refinement of the company's visual design
and brand identity continue; notable progress includes a clear international
The Kumasi Brewery in Ghana opens. Heineken owns or has an interest in 4
breweries in the Netherlands and 24 abroad, including properties in Egypt,
Italy, Venezuela, Angola and the Belgian Congo (today Zaire).
The Heineken Foundation is established to give a bi-annual award to
outstanding scientists in the field of biochemistry, including microbiology
and the germinating physiology of seeds.
A new international logo is introduced, for labels, coasters and other
visual designs. Among these are the famous 'Heineken lips', the two red
semi-circles enclosing the black stripe and name on the coaster. The style
has remained the international icon by which the brand is still known.
The first fully automated filling line for draught beer is installed in the
brewery in Rotterdam.
Simultaneously, a new keg type with a built-in extractor tube, the Sankey
keg, that fits the new filling line, is put into use. It will be introduced
gradually in the whole country. Heineken also embarks upon computerised data
processing. 1968 Heineken takes over Amstel Brouwerij N.V. as well as soft
drinks producer Vrumona N.V. in Bunnik (the Netherlands), thus securing its
share in the Netherlands internal market, which is heavily under threat from
foreign competitors. The first Heineken advertisements appear on TV.
Increasingly at home in the world, Heineken is still a foreign guest in
Europe. While it has a top position as an import in the premium segment of
the market, it is not dominant in the European market as a whole. Alfred
Heineken develops a strategy to change that and begins producing beer within
Alfred Heineken is appointed Chairman of the Executive Board. A glance at
Heineken abroad reveals an expanding roster of interests: Malayan Breweries
in Singapore; Perusahaan Bir Indonesia; bottle manufacturers Boukin in
Zaire; Bralima, Zaire; Bralirwa, Ruanda; Brarudi, Burundi; Brasserie de
Brazzaville in the People's Republic of Congo; Kumasi Brewery in Ghana;
Nigerian Breweries; Ibecor in Brussels; Antilliaanse Brouwerij, Curaçao;
Brasserie Lorraine, Martinique; Surinaamse Brouwerij in Paramaribo; Athenian
Brewery in Athens; and Albert Maltings in Belgium.
Heineken acquires a majority participating interest in the share capital of
Holding Company l'Espérance, which was the French ALBRA group, then the
third largest brewing group in France.
On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the company, the Executive
Board donates NLG 100,000 to three social-medical organisations located in
cities in the Netherlands that have Heineken breweries.
Official inauguration by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands of the
distillery (with grain-alcohol roasting house) in Zoetermeer. Heineken
increases its participation in the Dreher Group (Italy) from 90% to nearly
100%. When Heineken's interest in the French brewing group ALBRA increases
to 100%., ALBRA is renamed Heineken France S.A.
Heineken achieves broad market leadership in Europe through many
acquisitions, and fine-tunes its communication and products to appeal to
consumers in each local culture. These vary hugely: the English are used to
weak dark ales; the Italians still have mainly a wine culture; the three
Swiss language regions each have their own different expectations. Heineken
becomes a fixture in traditional bars from Dublin to Geneva.
A first installation based on reversed osmosis (hyper filtration)
considerably improves water processing in Europe.
The Amstel brewery in Amsterdam closes down. Production is transferred to
the Heineken brewery in Zoeterwoude. Heineken takes over Brouwerij de Ridder
B.V. in Maastricht (the Netherlands). Heineken doubles its participation in
a number of companies in Central Africa by acquiring shares already issued.
The company enters into brewing cooperation in Brazil with Coca-Cola
bottlers, producing Kaiser beer. Today Cervejaria Kaiser is the third
brewing group of Brazil. Kirin Brewery Company Ltd. starts to brew Heineken
under license in Japan.
This year is marked by a joint venture via Asia Pacific Breweries with third
parties in the Mila Brewery in Shanghai (China) and the introduction of
Buckler alcohol-free beer in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Alfred 'Freddy' Heineken retires from the Board, having reached the age
limit laid down in the company's Articles of Association. He is appointed
Chairman and Delegated Member of the Supervisory Council.
Heineken has become the second largest brewer in the world with the world's
most international brand, selling in over 170 countries. The core values
upon which it was built - consistent top quality, engaging people through
their own culture, and also its social awareness - have allowed the company
to renew itself over and again.
Heineken takes over Van Munching & Co., its sole importer in the United
States. This ends the remarkable lifetime contracts awarded Leo van Munching
and his son in 1960 in recognition of their achievement as the first and
only US importers of Heineken. Leo sr. was initially appointed in 1945.
Through his work, Heineken became a best-loved import in the US, an
achievement that remains as unique as his contract.
Operations in the former Eastern Bloc and other communist countries gather
steam. Heineken increases its interest in Komáromi Sörgyár RT in Hungary to
Heineken acquires a 24.9% participating interest in the Polish brewery,
Zywiec S.A. Zywiec has a leading position in the premium segment of the
Polish beer market, three breweries with a total production capacity of 1.1
million hectolitres, and a share of 7% of the Polish beer market. An
agreement is signed with Hainan Brewery Co. Ltd. (HBCL) for the construction
of a brewery on Hainan Island in China.
The Heineken University is opened. This is a training infrastructure
designed for the optimal use and expansion of know-how and experience within
In the Netherlands, the Heineken brand is voted 'Brand of the Century' and
Alfred Henry Heineken is proclaimed 'Advertiser of the century'.
2000 Heineken receives the King William I Prize for Dutch Entrepreneurship.
This prestigious prize is awarded once every two years to a large Dutch
company that has attracted attention due to impressive entrepreneurial
activities and important contributions to the economy, employment,
prosperity and the entrepreneurial reputation of the Netherlands.
Heineken expands its operations in China, Nigeria, Sweden, Belgium, Slovakia
The festive opening of the Heineken Experience in the former brewery on the
Stadhouderskade in Amsterdam takes place. To honour this event, Heineken
N.V. publishes the book, The Magic of Heineken.
The Heineken Company respectfully marks the death of its leader Alfred
‘Freddy’ Heineken at the beginning of the year. As a true entrepreneur,
Freddy Heineken is credited with making Heineken into the truly
international company it is today.
The acquisition of Brau-Beteiligungs A.G. (BBAG) in Austria, the largest
acquisition in the history of Heineken, significantly extends the lead of
Heineken in Europe, where Heineken was already the largest brewer. Through
this acquisition, Heineken is now also market leader in Austria, Romania,
and Hungary and consolidates leading positions and brand portfolios in
Poland and the Czech Republic.
The business is further shaped through acquisitions and joint ventures,
ensuring the creation of value. In Russia and China the position of Heineken
is strengthened through acquisitions and in the USA an agreement is
concluded with FEMSA in Mexico to distribute their strongly growing brands.
In South Africa, Brandhouse is launched, a joint venture with Diageo and
Namibia Breweries. In Australia Heineken enters in to a joint venture with
The first comprehensive sustainability award is published for the period
2002-2003, presenting a thorough and broad overview of activities worldwide.
In recognition of the continuous focus on corporate sustainability, Heineken
is awarded the prestigious Dutch ACC Award for best sustainability report.
Heineken acquires a number of breweries in Germany and Russia.
Also in 2005, Heineken introduces a new light Heineken beer to the US
market. This new beer, Heineken Premium Light Lager, is brewed in the same
high quality tradition as the original Heineken, but is lighter in taste and
has fewer calories and carbohydrates. The US light market represents half of
the total US beer market and is still growing.
Heineken also introduces its portable draught beer system, the Heineken
DraughtKeg. DraughtKeg allows consumers to experience a premium quality
draught beer at virtually any drinking occasion. Heineken launched this
innovation in France and in the USA in May 2005, followed by the
introduction in the Netherlands.
The portable DraughtKeg has been developed for consumers who like to share
and enjoy a quality draught beer in or outdoors and is relevant to the
various beer cultures worldwide.
In 2005 the Executive Committee is introduced. The two members of the
Executive Board, the five Regional Presidents and five Group Directors
together form the Executive Committee, which supports the development of
policies and ensures the alignment and implementation of key priorities and
strategies across the organisation.