Canadian Packaging

Heineken acquires Belgian cider innovator

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

General acquisition cider Heineken Stassen

With cider gaining momentum internationally, beer giant grabs a larger slice of the apple pie.

Heineken N.V., the international beer giant has announced it has acquired Stassen S.A., a leading international cider innovator located in Aubel, Belgium.

Along with the cider manufacturer’s strong research and development (R&D) capabilities and facilities, the acquisition of Stassen provides Heineken with cider-making capacity in continental Europe.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed and the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

Heineken acknowledges that its acquisition of Stassen comes at a time when the international cider category is gaining momentum.

Heineken, already the global cider category leader, is positioning itself to benefit from this trend through innovative new product offerings, such as Bulmers No. 17 (see photo above) and Jacques cider, as well as the international roll-out of its global cider priority brand Strongbow Gold.

Heineken N.V. chief commercial officer Alexis Nasard says: “We are excited about Stassen ciders and its employees becoming part of the Heineken company. Stassen’s strong R&D and innovation capabilities will serve us well in a time when there is a lot of new product activity in the category. Consumers around the world are increasingly intrigued by cider and its unique, refreshing taste, 100% natural ingredients and rich heritage and we are well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Stassen managing director Philippe Stassen adds: “By integrating Stassen ciders into the Heineken company and becoming its cider R&D (research and development) center, we are strengthening our leading position in the category’s premium market segment. This is a great opportunity for our employees and for our site in Aubel, which will further enhance its international scope. We are looking forward to the next phase of our growth story.”

Stassen operates a cider making facility, a R&D facility— including a new product pilot plant—and a de-alcoholization facility for cider, beer and wine. The company has unique cider R&D knowledge and expertise and was closely involved in the development of several of Heineken’s recently introduced ciders, such as Strongbow Gold, Jacques and Bulmers No. 17.

Heineken is considered the world’s leading cider maker, based on its number-one position in the U.K.—the world’s largest cider market—and market positions in countries such as Finland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, U.S. and  Canada.

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