Stellenbrau & Heineken23 March 2017
On Thursday, 23 March 2017 business history was made in the local craft beer category when Heineken South Africa signed a landmark deal with Stellenbosch-based brewery, Stellenbrau which makes the South African company part of this global brewing concern.
For the past five years Deon Engelbrecht and his team have built the iconic Stellenbrau brand whose product range comprises of four signature beers: an international award-winning Craven Craft lager, Jonker’s Weiss, Alumni Ale and Governor’s Red rooibos lager. Throughout this time the company’s passion for producing quality products made under the strictest standards has been at the forefront of their business ethos, together with delivering excellent client service.
Heineken International, the second largest brewer in the world, whom along with its own iconic brand owns Amstel and a share in Windhoek South Africa, operates largely in the premium and super premium segment of both the local and international market. According to Heineken South Africa’s managing director, Ruud van den Eijnden, “Stellenbrau was a natural fit with us from day one. To us, Stellenbrau is what Heineken was 150 years ago, because they share the same essential values: – a love of, and pride in producing great beer and a courageous entrepreneurial spirit. We are excited to welcome the entire team to the Heineken family.”
Van der Eijnden went on to praise Mr Engelbrecht for his brewery’s exceptional high standards, distinct and accessible product range and strong brand identity. “We want to thank you for bringing the business to this level. In the premium segment, stories are so important to brand perception. Stellenbrau’s beers all have such incredible histories behind them.”
Van der Eijnden was at pains to add that Heineken wants Stellenbrau to ‘keep doing what it does best.’ And have no plans to ‘corporatise’ the brewery. “If we combine forces, we can do so much more together. The best thing you can do for us is to keep your identity. We can learn as much from you as you can from us.”
Stellenbrau’s Deon Engelbrecht added that it was a ‘momentous day for him and his staff.’ He described his journey as: “A long road, but also an exceptional one. We believe that this landmark collaboration is testimony to what we have attempted to achieve locally, creating a distinct range of premium beers with character and accessibility. The fact that an international contender of Heineken’s reputation recognizes this vision and supports it, is a source of immense pride for all of us here at the brewery.”
What possible changes will the future hold for Stellenbrau and the consumer?
Stellenbrau will continue using the exact same recipes and brewing methods. The main benefits will be that Stellenbrau will be able to tap into the vast experience and knowledge of a worldwide role player in the beer market. Improved efficiencies, for example; root to market, marketing, brand management and distribution will be some of the major benefits for consumers who will be able to access the Stellenbrau beer range more easily.
What distinguishes Stellenbrau from some of the other role players in the craft beer category?
Stellenbrau always maintained a limited range of high quality beers with the focus on quality instead of quantity.
Stellenbrau beers are easy drinking, which is often not in line with the mainstream craft tradition.
Stellenbrau has aspired to produce brews that do not have the same after taste often evident in mainstream craft market.
Stellenbrau beers are renowned for their exceptional nutritional values, in terms of notably low sugar, glycemic carbs and kilojoule values.
“An exciting time lies ahead for Stellenbrau, but we will stick to and improve on what worked for us in the past” says Mr Engelbrecht.