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Heineken GTR celebrates growth of sales volume

Heineken Global Duty Free has toasted a double-digit sales volume increase across its overall duty-free business comprising cruise, ferries and inflight (2019 vs 2018).

The growth has been driven by increased distribution for its portfolio of over 250 brands. 

Kateryna Vasylchenko, trade and category manager global duty free, Heinenken comments: "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 low/no alcohol options and this has delivered 73 per cent sales volume growth for Heineken 0.0 (2019 v 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, as well as Lagunitas, Desperados, Amstel and Cruzcampo.”


Heineken now commands 38 per cent inflight market share across its portfolio.  Key highlights driving double-digit growth include: 

  • Listings in all regions include EasyJet in co-operation with Gate Retail, Emirates, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern and Hainan Airlines. 
  • In March 2019, Heineken was awarded a five year-contract extension with KLM and Air France as the exclusive beer offering on both airlines. 
  • Growing demand for lo/no alcohol offers including Heineken 0.0 as airlines increasingly focus on social responsibility. Listing successes include KLM, EasyJet, Eurowings/Lufthansa Group and Jet2. 

In November 2019 a dedicated Heineken Bar will open in the new KLM lounge at Schiphol airport. The producer see this as an important opportunity to showcase ciders, craft beers and lagers from the portfolio to the estimated 1.2m passengers per year who will visit the bar.

The inflight total beer category is benefiting from passenger growth across the world. With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting 3.6 per cent compound annual growth rate over the next two decades, air passengers will almost double to 7.8 billion by 2037.   

The producer's portfolio affords flexibility when covering the demands of today's travellers. It includes global players such as Heineken and 'local heroes' such as Tiger in Asia and Lagunitas. Heineken 0.0 launched in 2018 and is now available in KLM, Ryanair and Easyjet. 

Heineken's craft beer brand Lagunitas is listed on Singapore Airlines and all major North American airlines including United, Delta and South West.  

The brand 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 per cent of inflight beer consumption. 


Kateryna Vasylchenko continues: "With the continued growth in world tourism, the development of new retail space and the on-going trend for premiumisation on-board cruise and ferry ships, there is a positive outlook for the future of our cruise and ferry business. Over 75 per cent of world cruise passengers are from the US and Europe, with Europe 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 the Heineken company’s strategic focus on innovation the global duty free division is expanding its on-ship distribution of Brewlock and Blade  draught solutions.

The producer claims that Scandinavian ferries have shown moderate growth in recent years and expects this trend to continue. Beer is still one of the most popular categories in the Scandinavian ferry region, which makes it an attractive opportunity for joint business development with retail partners including Colorline, DFDS, Stena Line, Tallink Silja and Viking Line.

1 October 2019 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editor