By 2025, Heineken should not be the market leader on the Dutch beer market any more. AB InBev aims to overcome a 22-34 % market share divide in four years’ time.
The current Dutch market leader has one clear brand, the eponymous and ubiquitous Heineken, and also boasts a huge lead in the beer market’s fastest growing segment: alcohol-free beers. The world’s biggest brewing company, however, does not have one strong brand and sees its strength in its versatility: two local Dutch lager brands (Hertog Jan and Dommelsch) team up with a Belgian top duo (Jupiler and Stella Artois) and two international brands (Bud and Corona).
This diversity has been rewarded of late, according to the Belgian director of AB InBev Netherlands. “The last ten years, we have more than doubled our market share”, Chris Vanbroekhoven told Dutch news medium RTL Z. He points to the recent release of American beer icon Bud in the Netherlands, to prove that closing the huge gap with Heineken in just four years is possible. According to data gathered by Nielsen, AB InBev’s 22 % market share is still lagging behind Heineken’s 34 %.
Vanbroekhoven also rings the alarm bells for the Dutch hospitality sector, where he says “thousands of entrepreneurs will not survive the pandemic”. Restrictions should be eased sooner than later, he said – not entirely without self-interest, as he points out that “Even though we see a slight uptake in beer sales in hospitality, the sector has been hit immensely hard and the beer sales in retail cannot make up for that.”