Heineken eyes 5-10% brand growth as it launches zero-alcohol product in SG

Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore, in partnership with Economic Development Board (EDB) will be investing SG$3.8 million to install a de-alcoholiser at its brewery by the third quarter of 2019. This will allow APB Singapore to produce the Heineken zero-alcohol brew, called Heineken 0.0.

The non-alcoholic brew was launched in 2017, which is now available in more than 50 markets globally. In Asia Pacific, the non-alcoholic brew is available in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. In a statement to Marketing, Andy Hewson, managing director of APB Singapore said that the launch of Heineken 0.0 and the low and no-alcohol category was driven by key consumer trends.

These trends revolve around the fact that Singaporeans are now increasingly health-conscious, while also leading busier lives which may not give them enough time to relax and unwind. According to statistics by the company, there was a huge overlap between beer drinkers and consumers who drink soft drinks. This was amongst Singaporean beer drinkers aged 25 to 44 years old, and an estimated 73% also drink non-alcoholic beverages. Last year, Heineken recorded a 7% YoY volume growth globally, supported by sales of Heineken 0.0. This was said to be the highest growth rate the brand recorded in over a decade.

Hewson said that the low and no-alcohol category is currently "booming" in Europe and APB aims to replicate the success in Singapore and the region. It also looks to grow the total Heineken brand in Singapore by 5 to 10% year-on-year in the next three to five years.

Hewson said that the company expects the low and no-alcohol category to outperform the success that the cider category has achieved in the past five years. The non-alcoholic brew is targeted at both men and women, above the legal drinking age, who enjoy the taste of beer but not necessarily the effects of alcohol. It is for people who are looking for healthier choices, people who do not drink alcohol and are looking for a credible and premium beverage alternative for a variety of drinking occasions.

Amidst the conversations around the region about zero-alcohol beer in markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and others, Hewson told Marketing that there is potential for growth of the low and no-alcohol beer category in Singapore and in the region. APB will be rolling out Heineken 0.0 across all channels, not limited to traditional trade channels such as supermarkets, bars and clubs, but also the less conventional locations such as salad bars, gyms, offices.

"People are looking for high quality products. With Heineken 0.0, we want to give local consumers more choice for a variety of drinking occasions by offering them an all-natural, premium and great tasting beverage alternative," Hewson said.

Heineken spent two years of research to create the optimal recipe to launch the zero-alcohol beer, which contains 69 calories, to be released under the Heineken brand. Heineken said that it also had a six-week pilot test in Singapore late last year. Out of the 20,000 sampled, 200 consumers bought Heineken 0.0 daily and 82% of consumers liked drinking Heineken 0.0, while 91% said they would recommend it to their friends.