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Heineken Unveiled: 12 Must-Know Facts for Beer Drinkers

Heineken: 12 fascinating facts every beer drinker needs to know

Heineken is a titan in the global beer industry, with a rich history and an impressive presence in over 190 countries. From its humble beginnings to its iconic green bottle and innovative marketing strategies, Heineken has become a household name synonymous with quality and enjoyment. In this article, we explore 12 fascinating facts about Heineken that all beer drinkers need to know.

1. Before Heineken, there was The Haystack

Heineken wasn’t always Heineken. The brewery, originally called The Haystack or De Hooiberg, was purchased by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in 1864. It wasn’t until 1873 that the brewery changed its name to Heineken to reflect its new ownership. At the time, Heineken focused on the latest brewing technology and defied convention by brewing lager instead of the popular porter and ale.

2. Heineken was the first beer exported to the U.S. after Prohibition.

The Prohibition era in the United States, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, banned the sale and import of all alcoholic beverages. However, as soon as the ban was lifted, Heineken wasted no time in sending a ship full of its brew to Hoboken, New Jersey. This historic shipment marked the first post-Prohibition import of beer into the U.S., and over the next four years, Heineken’s exports to the U.S. skyrocketed.

3. Heineken’s green bottle was once designed to replace building blocks.

Heineken’s distinctive green bottle, known around the world, had a unique origin. In the 1960s, Heineken introduced the World Bottle (WOBO), which was designed to be used as a building block. The idea was to address the problem of waste, including Heineken beer bottles, by creating a reusable bottle that could be used as a building block. Although the concept didn’t take off due to technical issues and marketing concerns, it demonstrated Heineken’s commitment to sustainability.

4. The original Heineken brewery in Amsterdam is open to the public.

Amsterdam’s original waterfront Heineken brewery, which operated until 1988, now serves as the Heineken Experience, a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take a self-guided tour that provides insight into the company’s history and the brewing process. Highlights include towering storage silos, original copper brewing kettles, and a stainless steel fermentation tank from the 1960s. The tour concludes with a visit to the Best ‘Dam Bar, where guests can enjoy two pints of Heineken.

5. Heineken owns hundreds of brands worldwide

While Heineken lager remains its most popular offering, the company owns more than 300 other brands, making it a global powerhouse in the beer industry. From Amstel and Sol to Tiger, Birra Moretti and Edelweiss, Heineken’s portfolio spans multiple markets around the world. In addition, Heineken is also a top cider producer, producing Strongbow Apple Ciders and Orchard Thieves Cider, among others.

6. Heineken’s label has an interesting history

The iconic green bottle and label of Heineken lager have a deeper meaning than meets the eye. The red star on the label has roots dating back to the 14th century, when brewers hung stars over their vats for protection. The five points of the star represented fire, earth, water, wind, and an unknown element associated with magic or brewing. Interestingly, the color of the star was changed from all red to white with a red border in 1951 due to its association with communism. It was later changed back to full red in 1991.

7. Heineken was falsely accused of sponsoring a dogfight.

In 2012, Heineken faced a false accusation when a photo of the company’s banners against the backdrop of a dogfight in Mongolia went viral. Animal rights activists and the public mistakenly assumed that Heineken was sponsoring the event. The company quickly condemned the act and clarified that it does not participate in or support such activities. It highlighted the importance of responsible and ethical practices in the beer industry.

8. Heineken is well known for its marketing campaigns

Heineken is known for its innovative and compelling marketing campaigns. From the legendary slogan “Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach” to memorable commercials such as “Dropped” and “The Odyssey,” Heineken has consistently pushed the boundaries of advertising. The brand’s ability to connect with consumers through storytelling and humor has contributed to its global success.

9. Heineken is committed to sustainability

As a global beer brand, Heineken recognizes the importance of environmental sustainability. The company has implemented several initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and promote responsible consumption. Heineken aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2030, reduce water consumption in its breweries and implement sustainable packaging solutions. In addition, Heineken supports local communities through programs focused on education, access to clean water and entrepreneurship.

10. Heineken sponsors major sporting events

Heineken is known for its strong presence in the world of sports sponsorship. The brand is a long-standing partner of major sporting events, including the UEFA Champions League and Formula 1. Heineken’s sponsorship activities go beyond traditional advertising by actively engaging fans with immersive experiences, fan zones and exclusive events. This involvement in sport has helped Heineken build its global brand awareness.

11. Heineken has a unique pouring ritual

To enhance the drinking experience, Heineken has a distinctive pouring ritual known as the Heineken Star Serve. The ritual involves serving Heineken in a specific way to ensure optimal taste and presentation. It includes rinsing the glass with cold water, holding the glass at a 45-degree angle, and pouring with a gentle flow to create the perfect head of foam. The meticulous attention to detail demonstrates Heineken’s commitment to delivering a premium drinking experience.

12. Heineken promotes responsible drinking

As a responsible beer brand, Heineken actively promotes responsible drinking through its “Enjoy Heineken Responsibly” campaign. The campaign raises awareness about the importance of moderation, designated drivers and avoiding underage drinking. Heineken works with various organizations and initiatives to educate consumers about the risks associated with alcohol and to promote responsible drinking habits.
In conclusion, Heineken’s journey from a small Amsterdam brewery to a global beer powerhouse is full of fascinating facts and milestones. Its commitment to quality, sustainability and responsible drinking has contributed to its enduring success. From its iconic green bottle to its memorable marketing campaigns and involvement in major sporting events, Heineken continues to captivate beer drinkers around the world. So the next time you raise a glass of Heineken, remember the rich history and passion that goes into every sip. Cheers!


Heineken has a rich history dating back to 1864 when Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchased a brewery called The Haystack. In 1873, the brewery was renamed Heineken to reflect its new ownership. Since then, Heineken has grown into a global beer brand with a presence in over 190 countries.

What makes Heineken different from other beer brands?

Heineken stands out for its commitment to quality, innovative marketing strategies and global expansion. The brand has remained relevant by combining traditional brewing techniques with cutting-edge technology. Heineken’s iconic green bottle, memorable commercials, and sponsorship of major sporting events also contribute to its distinctiveness.

Is Heineken the world’s best-selling beer?

Yes, according to Drinks International’s Annual Brand Report, Heineken was the world’s best-selling beer in 2023. Its popularity extends to over 190 countries, making it a global leader in the beer industry.

Does Heineken own any other beer brands?

Yes, Heineken has a huge portfolio of over 300 beer brands. Some well known brands in their portfolio are Amstel, Sol, Tiger, Birra Moretti and Edelweiss. In addition, Heineken is also involved in cider production with brands such as Strongbow Apple Ciders and Orchard Thieves.

How is Heineken contributing to sustainability?

Heineken is committed to sustainability and has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. The company aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2030, reduce water consumption in its breweries and implement sustainable packaging solutions. Heineken also supports local communities through programs focused on education, access to clean water and entrepreneurship.

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