On February 15th, 1864, the mother of 22-year-old Gerard Heineken bought him The Haystack brewery in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. The Haystack brand had been sold since 1592 but the Dutch beer market was struggling when the brewery was purchased by the Heinekens. The first Heineken brand beer was brewed in 1873 after a special yeast was developed for the brand. By 1875 they become the biggest beer exporter in France.
After World War 1. the company focused primarily on exports. Just 3 days after prohibition ended in the US the first shipment of Heineken beer was delivered to the country. And it’s been a favorite brand ever since. Heineken has grown to become a truly global brand and it’s currently the second-largest brewer in the world. In 2014, Heineken celebrated their 150th anniversary and it doesn’t look like this multi-billion dollar company is going anywhere anytime soon.
For more important facts on another great beer, brand check our 15 Things you did not know about Budweiser.
1. Heinken beer only has 3 ingrediants
Heineken beer is made with only 3 simple ingredients, water, malted barley, and hops. 95% of just about any beer is water. Heineken ensures that they use only the cleanest highest quality water. The flavor of the beer largely comes from the malted barley which is made by soaking the barley grains in water and allowing them to germinate. Additional flavor comes from the hops which are also used to extend the shelf life of the beer.
2. They sold over 42 billion pints of beer in 2016
One hectoliter is equal to 100 liters. In 2016 Heineken sold a combined total of over 200 million hectoliters or all their beer labels combined. This equals 20 billion liters.
3. It has been family run for over 150 years
Gerard Heineken was the first family member to run the business in 1864. But over the 150 plus years of the business’s existence, a total of 4 generations of Heinekens have been actively involved in running and expanding the company and the brand. the latest generation of Heinekens says they are just as passionate about the product today as their ancestors were when they first began brewing the beer.
4. They are the most international company in the world
With a sales presence in 190 countries, Heineken can boast of being the most international beer company in the world. They also have over 165 breweries in 70 countries where they produce their beers.
5. The star logo was changed during the Cold War
Nobody at the Heineken company knows for sure where the Red Star came from. It was the original icon of the brand and some believed it was the symbol of European brewers in the Middle Ages who believed it had mystical powers to protect their brew. During the Cold War, the Red Star logo was changed to avoid the association with communism. The full red star was replaced with a white star and red outline. After the Cold War ended in 1991 the red star was restored as the logo.
6. You can visit the original Heineken brewery in Amsterdam
Although it’s no longer in operation as a brewery you can still visit the site of the original Heineken brewery that was built in 1867 in Amsterdam. The brewery was in use until 1988 when a larger more modern factory was built on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Now it serves as an interactive museum and corporate visitor center where visitors can engage in the Heineken Experience. Where they learn about the history of the company and the brewing process.
7. The three E on the label were designed to appear as if they are smilling
Alfred Henry Heineken the grandson of the original Heineken founder is the person who designed the beer label that is still in use by the brand today. In 1964 he decided to change the font of the label to make it appear as if the three E in the brand name are smiling at the potential customer. he thought this would be a subtle way to make the beer more appealing to women who tended to do the grocery shopping at that time.
8. Heineken sponsored James Bond films since 1988
Ever since the production of the 1988 film, Tomorrow Never Dies Heineken has been a partner of the James bond film franchise. For each film, they’re involved with Heineken products, advertising campaigns as well as 007 branded bottles and other collectibles. Although the brand is prominently featured in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale,e and Quantum of Solace, Bond himself doesn’t drink a Heineken until Skyfall.
9. Heineken has a fleet of electric delivery trucks
Heineken is very conscious about their environmental impact and they are actively trying to minimize their negative impact in every area possible. One goal the company has is for their beer to be delivered only in electric vehicles. they are currently testing this on a small scale in the Amsterdam area. The brewery in Amsterdam rolled out its first electric truck in 2013 which was a 19 tonne converted Volvo. In 2014 they added a 12-ton electric truck build from scratch.
10. It the 78th most valuable brand in the world
with 23 billion dollars in sales in 2016, Heineken ranked 78th on the Forbes most valuable brands list. It increased their sale slightly in 2015. Each year their ranking on this list puts them right ahead of t mobile and right behind Lego.
11. There are over 170 brands owned by Heineken
Heineken produces 250 international regional local and specialty beers and ciders. Their portfolio includes 170 distinctive brands. Their best-sellers are Heineken and Amstel but some other brands they sell include Tiger beer and Red Stripe.
12. Heineken is the 7th best selling beer brand
As of 2016 Heineken holds just 1.5% of the global market share. But the best-selling beer in the world holds just 5.4%. Heineken is the 7th best-selling beer brand in the world and the top-selling beer is Snow which is old almost exclusively in China. Heineken does have the distinction of being the number one brewer in Europe. And just as an interesting fact the global beer market is expected to pass 688 billion dollars by 2020.
13. Heineken is the most liked beer on Facebook
With 23 million likes the official Heineken Facebook Page is the most liked among all beer brands on Facebook. By comparison, Budweiser only had 14 million and Guinness has 6.4 million likes.
14. Heineken built the worlds largest pinball machine
In 2014 Heineken Italia wowed everybody at Milan’s design week with a living room that doubled as a giant pinball machine. The marketing scheme was called the Sub Living Room because it was supposed to promote its new advanced technology method of dispensing beer. Which is essentially a very fancy keg called the sub. At 53 feet long, 24 feet wide and 35 feet high Guinness World Records declared it the largest pinball machine in the world.
15. Heineken hosted the worlds first zero gravity music festival
Heineken’s tequila flavored beer Desperados created the first-ever zero gravity music festival on a plane 30 000 feet above the Las Vegas desert.