The history of the famous brewing brand dates back to December 16, 1863. That day, Gerard Adrian Heineken purchased a brewery called “Haystack” in the heart of Amsterdam. It was founded in 1582. At that time it was the largest factory of its kind in the city and its environs. Gerard Adrian can convince his rich mother to buy him a brewery. The arguments were simple – in the eatery people trite the banana from gin, not being able to join the normal beer.

From the very beginning of his management, the 22-year-old Heineken set new rules. He decided not to release traditional Dutch “working” grades anymore, switching to a new, Bavarian gentleman’s beer. The new technology of bottom fermentation allowed to create more light and pure beer, which, moreover, could also be stored longer. This turned out to be a good decision, because sales have risen sharply. Such a pace simply did not have time to produce a drink. It was necessary in 1867 to build a new brewery, this time on the outskirts of Amsterdam.


In 1869 Gerard Adrian made the German Wilhelm Feltman his main brewer, and he concentrated on finding quality raw materials for his product. Gerard Heineken even made his own laboratory, which was unique for breweries. There, the head of the company conducted experiments to control the quality and raw materials, and the most ready-made beer.

In 1870, the Franco-Prussian War reduced the supply of Bavarian beer, which only played into the hands of the Heineken brewers. In 1873, a new enterprise, Heineken’s Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij N.V., was established. But then it became clear that these breweries would not be enough – in Rotterdam a year later they opened another Heineken brewery with an area of ​​3 thousand squares. At this factory, the most advanced equipment and quality control line were located.

In 1886, Dr. Elin, a disciple of Louis Pasteur himself received a new task from the brewers, to bring out the original yeast variety, “Heineken A”, which is famous to this day. They are the most important and unique part of the famous brand, giving a special drink to a special drink. I must say that these yeast are the only part of the beer “Heineken”, which other producers have no right to buy or repeat.

Gérard Hadrian’s energetic work led to the fact that his brewery’s products began to be valued not only in domestic markets, but also abroad. As early as 1875, a gold medal was awarded at the International Exhibition in Paris, success was repeated in 1889 and 1890, in 1883 the beer won the Grand Prix in Amsterdam. Since 1880, “Heineken” has become the largest supplier of beer to neighboring France, and since 1889 has been supplying its products to the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower. What could be the best advertisement? “Heineken” constantly uses advanced technologies – since 1881 there is a cooling system that allows you to abandon the seasonal dependencies of ice. And in 1890 at the plant in Amsterdam there was electric lighting.


In 1893 the founder of the company died, leaving it among the largest in the country. Heineken poured 200,000 decaliters per year, which was a couple of orders of magnitude greater than that of ordinary small enterprises. In 1917, the management of the company took over the son of Gerard, Henry Heineken. He represented a new type of leader. Henry was a chemist by training, which allowed him to improve the brewing process. A lot of effort, time and money was spent on this. Also Henry became the first in the country who created a pension fund for his workers, paid attention to working conditions. This has had a considerable impact on the motivation of employees. The head of the company was even nicknamed the “red brewer”, which was a dubious compliment.

The First World War, as well as the depression of the 1930s, affected the development of the company – people simply began to drink less beer. But in the first half of XX century, the company began to conquer the States. She first came to America after the abolition of the Dry Law there.In 1940, Henry Heineken resigned from his post as head of the company. The years of World War II again meant stagnation. But during this time a new representative of the Heineken family, Alfred Henry, was brought up. In the beer business, he was 18 years old, probation in the American branch. Returning to Europe, he contributed to the aggressive marketing and advertising strategy of the brand. Due to this, the company became the third in terms of production volumes. Alfred Henry himself in 1951 entered the supervisory board, in 1971 becoming its chairman.

In difficult military years, the company began to think about the post-war future. It became clear that we must focus on store sales. Heineken reoriented from production to the market. Personally, Alfred Henry came up with the design of a new green bottle with a pair of stars, soon two-thirds of the produced beer was already produced in a new container. In the 1960s, strong foreign competitors intensified in Holland, for the rescue, Heineken was forced to merge with its main competitor, Amstel. This decision allowed us to withstand a foreign attack. In 1971, the company also absorbed the company “Bokma” and “Cowberge”, and in 1973 also the wine company Royhmena. In 1975, the largest in the continent brewery, with a capacity of 6 million hectoliters, was opened in Zutrevoude, and the first foreign plant was opened in Africa at the same time.

Alfred Henry’s reign was marked by the expansion of sales markets. Beer was produced under license in Jamaica, Norway, Sweden, Tahiti, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Korea, Spain and Japan. And the former breweries in Amsterdam closed down, turning into museums. In 1989, Alfred Henry retired, handing the case over to the energetic and talented manager Karel Wursten. In 1991, the company became a joint-stock company, the largest package in 25% was left by Alfred Heineken. In 2002, the legendary manager for the company died.


Today, Heineken is the world’s second largest beer producer. It owns stakes in more than 30 breweries, has large branches in Italy, Spain, France, even in China and Singapore. Interestingly, in the US, beer has never been produced, always exported from Europe. Thanks to this, the brand looks really European, which has a lot to do with success. Beer “Heineken” can be purchased in more than 170 countries of the world. The company works in the spirit of the founding family, it’s not accidental that they remember the words of Alfred Heineken: “I’m considering a bottle of bad Heineken as a personal insult.” Family traditions of brewing and doing business linked the past and the future, setting the direction of development. At the moment, the company employs about 55,000 people, the brand turnover is $ 20 billion, and the net profit is 700 million.

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