Martyn Fisher talks to Toby Lancaster, category and shopper marketing director at Heineken UK, finding out how Heineken has been developing the beer & cider category

How has Heineken helped wholesalers grow their beer & cider category sales in the past 12 months?

As the market leader in the beer & cider category, Heineken UK is committed to growing the category through all channels.

Over the past year, our category and sales teams have been providing in-depot education to wholesalers across the country to keep them up to date with key trends and expert advice, as well as offering continued support and investment.

This insight and advice has also been given to thousands of independent retailers across the country to ensure that what is executed in-depot lines up with what is happening in stores.

What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?

Over the past year, we have identified several areas of opportunity that we can work on with businesses to grow the category.

Health has been a key trend and has influenced purchasing decisions over the past few years, with a third of consumers limiting their calorie intakes as they try to live better. Wholesalers should respond to this desire for a healthy lifestyle by stocking and promoting a range of alcohol-free options, as well as considering beers and ciders that meet specific dietary needs.

In addition, beer and cider are a great fit with meals, with many large single bottles being purchased as an accompaniment to food.

Wholesalers can make the most of this natural pairing by merchandising crisps and snacks with beer and cider in-depot and online, to inspire retailers to do the same.

What challenges has Heineken had to overcome in the past year?

We have been working with wholesalers and retailers to simplify their ranges.

Through our research, we have identified that to optimise sales, wholesalers should focus on 440ml and 568ml sizes, rather than 500ml.

 What is Heineken’s greatest achievement in the past year?

Our Star Retailer scheme has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months and more than 7,000 retailers are now part of it. With our range, and space and merchandising advice, an average store can expect to see an uplift of 12% in beer & cider sales.

What would you like to see happen in wholesaling in the next 12 months?

I would like more wholesalers to promote and support premiumisation in the category. This is a no-brainer for everyone involved, as consumers get to enjoy the very best of products, while wholesalers and retailers see an increase in sales.

I also think consumers are looking for more from their purchases, so I would like to see wholesalers adding value rather than just offering discounts to be passed on to consumers.

Are you planning any activity of which wholesalers should be aware?

We have activity in place for the return of football’s Champions League and Fresher’s Week.

What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the beer & cider category?

My advice would be to ensure they are best in class at getting the basics right. This is key to improving retailers’ experiences when they are purchasing for delivery or in-depot and so it drives sales.

Wholesalers should ensure they have a range of products that are clearly merchandised for each of the key beer & cider sub-categories, and which are available in pack sizes that satisfy occasions

Fast fact

Distribution of Birra Moretti has grown by


in the past year



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