Heineken To Introduce Nonalcoholic Beer In The US

(CNBC) – Heineken will soon launch a nonalcoholic version of its namesake beer in the U.S. as consumers seek out healthier options.

In January, Heineken will introduce Heineken 0.0 (pronounced zero zero) nationwide. Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, first launched the beer in Barcelona in May 2017 and has since rolled it out in more than 30 countries.

Consumers are increasingly shunning beer and instead drinking wine, spirits and hard seltzers, which they perceive as healthier than beer. Others are drinking less and some are dropping alcohol altogether. Heineken thinks it can reinvigorate the beer category if it can give people more opportunities to drink it.

“It’s not about a replacement strategy, it’s complementary,” said Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken USA. “Sometimes I drink Heineken. Sometimes I drink Heineken 0.0. … So what we see happening is that this is in addition to our own Heineken position. We see this as an ‘and’ not an ‘instead of purchase.’”

The U.S. market for nonalcoholic beer has been relatively small, with Anheuser-Busch InBev’s O’Doul’s being the most well-known brand. But it and other nonalcoholic beers have become somewhat stigmatized. Heineken hopes to market 0.0 as similar to traditional Heineken just without the alcohol, making it an option for any situation.

To highlight this, Heineken will advertise new occasions for people to drink beer, including after a workout or during an office lunch. The beer contains 65 calories, below even light beers like Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra, a brand that has successfully positioned itself as an option for health-conscious consumers.