Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Cork brewery has been providing support to closed on-trade outlets with measures ranging from credit freezing to training and advice on staff and customer engagement and digital innovation.
Heineken is now mobilising its 90-strong in-house technical team to undertake a quality operation that’s never been done before on such a scale.
As a result of the swift lockdown in mid-March there are currently over 100,000 open – or soon to expire – kegs of the brewery’s beer and cider sitting in cellars and the dispensing taps of shuttered bars across the country. This includes additional unused stock that publicans had ordered for trading during the abandoned St Patrick’s Festival celebrations
Following this, Heineken Ireland committed to shouldering the cost of the unused stock it collects, equivalent to over 10 million pints. This will ensure that all Heineken Ireland product in outlets around the country is at peak freshness and of the highest quality when the sector reopens.
In preparation for the re-opening of venues in the coming months, Heineken Ireland’s in-house technical, dispensing and quality team will also undertake the significant task of visiting over 1,000 on-trade outlets per week to clean every beer and cider dispensing line across the country.
Heineken Ireland also will fully fund the sustainable repurposing of the expired draught beer and cider collected under its award-winning Brewing a Better World sustainability programme, an innovative Irish partnership that will see this draught product used to produce green electricity and fertiliser through anaerobic digestion.
“We’re proud to be a key partner of the pub trade and are keen to play our part for our customers during what has been exceptionally challenging times for us all,” commented Heineken Ireland’s Commercial Director Sharon Walsh, “By deploying this vast in-house quality operation, by committing to replacing and bearing the cost of unused product and by gathering insights on the re-opening of the pub trade in other Heineken markets around the world, we’re supporting our customers on their journey to a responsible re-opening.”
The brewer is also leveraging digital innovation to benefit the on-trade on the road to re-opening. Through staying close to its on-trade partners since the immediate onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Heineken Ireland found that publicans are particularly concerned with being kept informed with the latest updates on supports, on-trade trends from around the world and maintaining a connection with their customer base.
To address these needs, Heineken Ireland has developed new digital innovation platforms to keep the brewer connected to its publican customers. This includes an online Pub Hub platform where its 7,000 on-trade customers can log on to access information and advice during the closure. This will soon include insightful market intelligence on the re-opening of the hospitality sectors in other Heineken markets in Europe.
“Bars, restaurants and hotels will face challenges for some time to come and all stakeholders must pull together to protect this vital sector as we reawaken to a very different economic and consumer environment,” concluded Sharon Walsh, “Heineken Ireland will play a leadership role and remain committed to our customers, communities, employees, Irish farmer suppliers and the loyal consumers as we navigate the road to re-opening. We’re confident that the re-opening can and will be a safe one.”
Heineken Ireland, which employs 400 staff, sustainably brews 98% of the draught beer and cider its sells in Ireland at its historic Cork brewery.