Hm, is Heineken changing its ways? Amid falling sales in the U.S. and its CEO admitting that the brand hasn't kept pace with the explosive growth of craft beer, new reports from Beverage Daily state that there are changes in the works for Heineken's light beer.
Beverage Daily reports that the brand is reshaping not just the packaging, but the beer itself — adding in Cascade hops, an ingredient found more often than not in small-batch craft beers. That's a deliberate attempt to capture more beer drinkers with a bigger flavor, said Olga Osminkina, senior brand director of Heineken USA, to Beverage Daily. That comes with a "smooth taste profile, slightly darker color, and a floral, fruity hop aroma with a hint of citrus," said Osminkina. Although Oskimina was "coy" in saying directly whether the addition of hops was a move to copy other craft brewers' success, she stated that the addition would make Heineken a "competitive differentiator" for Heineken Light and the audience the brand hopes to target — the "Urban Achiever" subcategory. (That's males between the ages of 25 and 34 "who are sophisticated, discerning, and preer high-end imports," says Oskimina. Sounds quite a bit like the typical craft beer drinker, except that they're missing the women.)
So will Heineken's new strategy work? After all, Budweiser did it first.