Amstel Lager, one of the best-selling premium beers in South Africa, will be available to consumers from the first week of July 2007.
Brandhouse Beverages (Pty) Ltd, the local joint venture company owned by Heineken N.V., Diageo plc and Namibia Breweries Limited, will now market and distribute Amstel in the Southern Africa region. Amstel joins brandhouse’s already impressive premium beer portfolio including Heineken, Guinness and Windhoek. It will be marketed and distributed alongside its premium spirit portfolio that includes Johnnie Walker, Bells, J&B, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan Spiced Gold and Black Label.
Brandhouse managing director Simon Litherland says: “We would like to thank loyal Amstel drinkers for their patience over this period. We have truly pulled out all the stops to bring Amstel Lager back to South Africa as quickly as possible. This has taken a great deal of strategic planning, sourcing of input materials and dedication of the European teams. We have focused all of our energies on this goal over the past three months.
“Amstel is already back in South Africa. However, to ensure fair distribution, we are currently stocking up our distribution pipeline with the imported premium Amstel so that the cans will be available around the country from early July. We are also pleased to confirm that bottles, both the 750ml ‘quart’ and 340ml ‘dumpies’ will be available from October,” says Litherland.
“Amstel is being produced at Amstel breweries in Europe, to the exact same recipe and specifications to date, ensuring that the South African consumer will enjoy the same premium Amstel as before.
“Further, we are absorbing all associated costs of production and transportation for importing Amstel from Europe and we do not expect to change the current pricing strategy of Amstel in South Africa so that consumers will be able to buy it at the same price as it was sold previously.
The new 330ml and 440ml cans are aligned to both the internationally preferred metric and will be the industry norm going forward in South Africa. As of June 2007, the Windhoek and Heineken trademarks will be leading the industry and moving into these new pack format sizes.
Brandhouse will launch a major media campaign within the next few days to communicate directly with consumers about the brand’s retail availability. The company has also set up a hotline to handle all consumer queries that will be live from Monday 11, July 2007 and open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. The number is 0800 227 222.
For the longer-term, Litherland confirms Heineken N.V.’s in-principle decision to build a brewery over the next two years in South Africa.
“Although details cannot yet be announced, it will certainly represent a substantial investment, bringing much needed employment to the country and contributing significantly to economic growth.
“Brandhouse is delighted that the brand will be back in South Africa under our umbrella. Our current share of the premium beer market is about 19% and with Amstel it will be 68% as Amstel is the premium brand of choice, holding 49% of the total premium market. Heineken, which is also positioned in the premium segment, has grown 48% in the last year and the Windhoek range is growing over 20% per annum. We are confident that Amstel will continue to flourish as consumers return to drinking the premium brand of choice.”
“Brandhouse has had a fantastic three years since the joint venture was created in July 2004 and Amstel will serve as a catalyst for our next stage of growth. We look forward to continuing to grow our share in this profitable beer market,” Litherland concludes.