My first thought when I read that Heineken was bringing a new non-alcholic all-natural beer to America was pretty much the same reaction I have had to every other non-alcoholic beer that’s hit U.S. shelves: total and complete indifference.
BUT, then I had a look at their Heineken 0.0 marketing campaign and, you know what? I think I am down with it now.
Heineken 0.0 is already available in more than 30 countries and will be introduced to the United States in January.
“It’s not about a replacement strategy, it’s complementary,” Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken USA, told CNBC. “Sometimes I drink Heineken. Sometimes I drink Heineken 0.0. … So what we see happening is that this is in addition to our own Heineken position. We see this as an ‘and’ not an ‘instead of purchase.'”
Sounds good, but, you know, how is it going to taste?
Making beer taste good without alcohol is challenging. Fermenting yeast naturally produces alcohol, which helps give beer its flavor. The main techniques to make nonalcoholic beer are to prevent yeast from producing alcohol or to remove alcohol at the end.
These processes can leave beer tasting not quite right. To make Heineken 0.0, brewers remove alcohol but then add back in the fruity aromas that are stripped out along with the alcohol. These aromas give Heineken’s beers their taste and smell, said Heineken’s global brewmaster, Willem van Waesberghe.
As for the taste, he said, “it’s a little different, but it’s really close to a good beer. I’m talking as a brewer. As a consumer, I’m really, really happy about it.”
Okay, still with you, Heineken. If it tastes even remotely like the “real” Heineken I can definitely see drinking it. But only because of all the new situations in which I can drink it, thanks to their clever ads.
I am so doing all of these things, and more.