Heineken is top lager brand in Ireland

Dutch brewer grows its market share as it calls for stimulus for pub sector

Heineken’s portfolio includes Coors Light, Fosters, Beamish Stout, Murphy’s Stout, and a full range of specialty beers, which includes Desperados. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES

Heineken’s portfolio includes Coors Light, Fosters, Beamish Stout, Murphy’s Stout, and a full range of specialty beers, which includes Desperados. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Much like the country’s property market, Heineken today pointed to a two-speed recovery in Ireland’s beer market, as the Dutch brewer revealed that it has become the country’s top lager brand.

In a statement, Heineken said that the Irish beer market is “mirroring the tiered economic recovery which the country is currently experiencing”.

“On trade growth is very much focused in the Dublin and suburban areas, with rural areas west and north west of the country very much behind the capital”.

Noting that “serious challenges” remain for rural pubs in the current tiered marketplace recovery as suburban outlets near large cities continue to buck the trends, Heineken called on the government to help the Irish pub sector in the form of a reversal of recent beer excise increases, lower rates of both VAT and water charges in the sector.

Overall, increased its volume share of the Irish beer market to 28 per cent in the first half of the year, primarily through the Heineken branded product. One in every two pints of lager consumed in the pub now comes from the Heineken Ireland portfolio, while one third of all consumer spend on lager is focused on the Heineken brand.

The brewery’s portfolio includes Coors Light, Fosters, Beamish Stout, Murphy’s Stout, and a full range of specialty beers, which includes Desperados.

Nonetheless, the company said that Ireland is still a difficult operating environment.

Maggie Timoney, CEO of Heineken in Ireland, said “it continues to be tough to operate in this declining market, particularly in the context of the punitive excise tax increase imposed on our industry by the government. These taxes are a tax on consumers, tourism and jobs.”

Heineken reported revenues of €477 million in 2013 for its Cork based operation, which employs 544 people.

Globally Heineken, the world’s third- biggest brewer, said today that it expects growth to moderate in the remainder of the year after posting profit in the first half that topped analysts’ estimates. Earnings before interest and taxation, excluding some items, were €1.45 billion, compared with €1.33 billion a year earlier.

Heineken still anticipates stronger sales in 2014. The brewer is looking to expand sales of pricier beers such as the eponymous flagship Heineken brand. It’s also turning to developing markets for growth, buying control of its joint venture Asia Pacific Breweries in 2012.

(Additional reporting Bloomberg)