Heineken Global Duty Free reports double-digit sales increase in 2019

By Andrew Pentol |


The Heineken Global Duty Free division is expanding its on-ship distribution of Blade professional draught solutions.

Heineken Global Duty Free has reported a double-digit sales increase across its overall duty free business (cruise, ferries and inflight) in 2019 versus the previous year. The growth is driven by increased distribution for its portfolio of over 250 brands.

Kateryna Vasylchenko, Trade and Category Manager, Global Duty Free, Heineken commented: “The growing consumer trend to drink better continues to open up increased revenue opportunities driven by the demand for premium brands such as those in the Heineken portfolio.

“There is also notable growth in the demand for lo/no alcohol options and this has delivered 73% sales volume growth for Heineken 0.0 (2019 versus 2018). Beer and cider consumers are strongly loyal to their favourite brand, however on vacation they are open to trying out new variants.

“Heineken Global Duty Free offers solutions for this discovery mindset with the rich diversity of its portfolio in beer and cider beverages, with many strong, regionally relevant brands.  These include Birra Moretti, Red Stripe, Kalik, Tiger, Orchard Thieves, Strongbow, Lagunitas, Desperados, Amstel and Cruzcampo.”


Currently, Heineken commands 38% inflight market share across its portfolio. Among the highlights driving this double-digit growth is significant listings including easyJet in co-operation with Gate Retail, Emirates, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Eurowings and Jet2. As airlines focus on social responsibility, growing demand for lo/no alcohol including Heineken 0.0 is a factor.

Heineken’s Lagunitas craft beer brand is also listed on Singapore Airlines and all major airlines including United, Delta and SouthWest.

In other news, a dedicated Heineken Bar will open in the new KLM lounge at Schiphol Airport. This is an excellent opportunity for Heineken to showcase ciders, craft beers and lagers from its portfolio to the estimated 1.2 million passengers per year who will visit the bar.

According to Heineken, its mass popularity with all types of consumer is driven by high-profile sponsorship of leading events such as Formula 1, UEFA Champions League, Rugby World Cup and partnership with James Bond films. Cabin crew engagement with these sponsorships is also an important driver of on-board sales via relevant incentives such as the opportunity to win tickets to James Bond film premieres.

Heineken believes the long-term inflight trend will be led by established global brands, supported by a smaller contribution from craft beer, which accounts for 15% of inflight beer consumption. It is able to offer craft beer and cider solutions due to its well established route-to-market operations in every country with specialist supply chain capabilities to the airline industry.


Left-right: Kateryna Vasylchenko, Trade and Category Manager, Global Duty Free, Heineken International; Koos Vrijlandt Commercial Manager, Global Duty Free and Travel Retail, Heineken International; and Veroniek van Duren, Senior Brand Manager, Heineken International toast the company’s success in the channel.

Vasylchenko added: “With the continued growth in world tourism, the development of new retail space and ongoing trend for premiumisation on cruise and ferry ships, there is a positive outlook for the future of our cruise and ferry business.

Tiger-Beer“Over 75% of world cruise passengers are from the US and Europe, with the latter predominantly driven by the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.  These are markets where our brands are well known and loved. European cruise and ferry travellers are increasingly interested in low/no alcohol beer and cocktails, therefore this category represents a significant growth opportunity for both suppliers and operators.

“We feel confident playing in this area with our hero Heineken 0.0. Our proposition will be expanding in the near future with numerous non-alcohol options within our portfolio.”

As part of Heineken’s continued strategic focus on innovation and commitment to delivering brewery quality beer, the global duty free division is expanding its on-ship distribution of Brewlook and Blade professional draught solutions.

With beer one of the most popular categories in the Scandinavian ferry region, the segment is expected to remain an attractive opportunity for Heineken’s retail partners including Color Line, DFDS, Stena Line, Tallink Silja and Viking Line.



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