- Heineken plans to debut a nonalcoholic beer in the U.S. in January called Heineken 0.0, according to CNBC. The product has already been introduced in 30 countries — but it hasn't yet been tested here, CNBC noted.
- The Dutch brewing giant said it hopes the nonalcoholic product will boost opportunities for U.S. consumers to drink Heineken, drawing them away from wine, spirits and hard seltzers. At 65 calories per bottle, Heineken 0.0 will be marketed as a healthier option that can be enjoyed at lunch or after workouts, the company said.
- "It's not about a replacement strategy, it's complementary," Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken USA, told CNBC. "We believe the consumer's ready. We believe this is good for beer, and we're going to go for it. So I don't see us blinking anytime soon."
Heineken is the latest beer maker to jump on the nonalcoholic bandwagon. This, along with low-calorie products, is a marketing strategy designed to lure consumers who like the taste of beer but are also interested in health and wellness. Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite are all reduced-calorie domestic lagers, and Constellation Brands and AB InBev have also rolled out new lower-calorie beers. Constellation reported a sales bump in its most recent earnings report from its new low-calorie Corona Premier.
In the nonalcoholic beer sector, Heineken launched its 0.0% MAXX last year in Europe, and Coors has its Non-Alcoholic brand. Guinness owner Diageo has Open Gate Pure Brew, and Carlsberg has been making nonalcoholic beers since 2015. The best-known nonalcoholic brand in the U.S. to date is AB InBev's O'Doul's, according to CNBC.
Besides the appeal of fewer calories, such products generate more revenue because they don't need to pay alcohol taxes, CNN reported.
The market for low-calorie and no-alcohol beers seems to be doing better in recent years than premium beers and malt liquor, so Heineken may do well with its nonalcoholic product. It's been a winning formula elsewhere. According to Nielsen figures quoted by CNBC, Heineken's share of the U.K. no-alcohol beer market jumped from 2.5% in May 2017 to 10.4% this May.
To maximize flavor, Heineken removed the alcohol from the final product but put back the fruity aromas that provide the company's beers with their distinctive taste and smell, CNBC reported. If the Dutch brewer is able to maintain that recognizable taste, smell and flavor — yet still offer a low-calorie and no-alcohol product — U.S. beer drinkers just may find it checks enough boxes to stand out in the crowded and competitive beer industry.