Everyone is going direct to consumer, even brewers.
Heineken USA’s new e-commerce site, draftforhome.com, will sell Heineken’s line of home tap machines as well as 2-liter kegs that work with the system, and deliver in the same day. These kegs, which keep beer cold for up to three weeks, are not only filled with beer, but also two new product lines for the company: cold-brew coffee and kombucha. Heineken plans on eventually making the site available throughout the U.S., but for now, it will only be accessible to people in New York City.
“People are shifting a big part of their purchases to e-commerce because it delivers a convenient and immediate solution against going to a store,” said Santiago Murphy, director of innovation at Heineken USA. “We are partnering with all tiers in the beer industry to make sure we all catch up to people’s expectations to get access to our products online, for any occasion.”
The U.S. effort began in August of 2017, when Heineken — which also owns Tecate, Dos Equis, Strongbow, Red Stripe and Newcastle, among other beer companies — launched a Heineken-only store at now.heineken.com, as well as a separate site for Dos Equis at store.doseequis.com. Data showed a strong customer preference for having variety online, so in April, Heineken launched a new e-commerce site on which to sell and deliver beer from eight of its companies: Heineken, Dos Equis, Tecate, Strongbow, Red Stripe, Amstel Light, Newcastle and Affligem. Upon launch, Heineken discontinued the Dos Equis site.
With e-commerce, Heineken does not have to abide by the pace of stores. It can be fast to market. “With traditional retail, it takes a long time to get beer from overseas, and you have strict shelf sets. What you put out is what you get,” said Jenna Behrer, senior director of innovation at Heineken USA. A direct-to-consumer service means Heineken can be fast to market, she said.
Both e-commerce sites will make deliveries in an hour or for a specific day, and in order to receive the delivery, a person who is 21 or older will have to sign for the package. Behrer said Heineken is also in beginning talks with other e-commerce sites like Amazon to see what other options might look like in the future, so the company can scale its offerings. Heineken is mostly using Facebook ads to promote the sites in key markets, but there are some event promotions planned as well. Heineken is looking into sending ticket holders of a soccer game at Madison Square Garden on July 8 a digital message promoting the home draft system and new website. Heineken hopes to conquer the soccer market in the U.S.