History of Heineken International


The success of Heineken

A Dutch brewing company, Heineken International has risen to become one of the world’s biggest and most important breweries. Its pale lager beer is the company’s signature product, packaged in the iconic green bottle. Check out its success story.

Heineken’s origins

Heineken’s success saga started in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1864 when 22-year old Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchased a brewery known as De Hooiberg (which means “the haystack” in Dutch). In 1873 it became Heinken’s Bierbrouwerij Maatschppij and the following year a second brewery opened in Rotterdam.

Mr. Heineken was the first brewer to build his own laboratory, since he placed the utmost importance to the quality of his beers. Louis Pasteur’s student Dr. H. Elion developed the Heineken A-yeast in the laboratory. The yeast is still used by Heineken today as one of the beer’s principal ingredients.

Gerard Heineken’s son Henry Pierre Heineken headed the company from 1917 to 1940 and continued to be actively involved in the company until 1951. Under his leadership, Henry Heineken developed techniques to keep the beer in consistently high quality. After the First World War, Heineken moved on to other things including focusing on exporting their products.

Heineken invades the United States and the whole world

In 1933, only days after Prohibition ended in America, Heineken was introduced there. Since then Heineken has been one of the best-selling beer brands in the US.

Henry Pierre’s son and Freddy Heineken started working for the company in the early 1940s at the time when it was no longer owned by the family. He bought the stock back, gaining family control once more. In the 1971 he was designated Chairman of the Executive Board, and played a key role in transforming Heineken, once regarded chiefly as a Dutch beer, into one of the world’s most internationally recognized brands.

When he retired from his position in 1989, Freddy Heineken remained active with the company until his death in 2002. The current heiress is his daughter Charlene, who now owns Heineken International and is involved in the company’s managing arm.

Heineken today and the future

Today Heineken International is a multibillion international company that brews and sells more than 170 kinds of beer, including premium and specialty beers. They also offer beers that are brewed specifically for regional and local markets. In five territories, Heineken owns 115 brewing plants in more than 65 countries.

Next to other brewing giants AB InBev and SABMiller, Heineken is now the third largest brewery in the world, producing 723,831,420 gallons – 2.74 billion liters – worldwide as of 2011.

It seems there is no stopping Heineken continued success. Its history and development will certainly guide the company towards further success in the future.

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