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Go big or go home: Heineken SA pulling out all the stops for 150th anniversary

Heineken turns 150 this year, and likewise one of South Africa's favourite beer brands is pulling out all the stops to ensure 2023 goes down in history as one of its most epic years yet. But first, join us as we speak to brand manager Motheo Mosoane as he unpacks what this important milestone means for the global brewery and how far Heineken, or Hekkene, Hakinen however you may pronounce it has come to be where it is today.

By Ondela Payisa

Heineken, Hekkene, Hakinen however you may pronounce turns 150 this year. The crazy part about it reaching this milestone is that it almost came to a hault when Freddy Heineken, the grandson of brains behind the global family brewery estimated to be worth 49 billion euros, was kidnapped on a cold evening in November 1983.

Mr Heineken and his chauffeur were abducted outside Heineken’s Amsterdam headquarters by notorious career criminals and released on 11 million US dollars ransom, which was at the time Europe’s highest ever paid for a kidnap victim.

Back to the real reason why we’re here; Heineken 150th anniversary celebrations, one of which we were honoured to be part of more than a week ago at Keys Art Miles in Rosebank, where we were given a sneak peek of some of the exciting things the South African chapter is doing. This includes among others the Heineken x Fuata Moyo Capsule, and the immersive one-of-a-kind music festival, the Hey Neighbour this coming December.

Lucky for us, we also managed to corner on the night, Motheo Mosoane, the brand manager at the helm of this 150 year old empire here in South Africa to discuss what this actually this means, as well as how far the trailblazing brewery has come.

“It’s no small feat for any brand to be in existence  for 150 years and still be to so relevant to so many consumers, and literally be the one brand that is well recognised all around the world is no doubt an astonishing achievement,” Mosoane tells us. “I think when the owner of Heineken started the brand back in 1873, they never really thought that it would have this much legs and relevance not only to the older consumer profile, but the younger ones. I mean as the young ones come in, they really recognise the brand. They find themselves being infused in what the brand does from the belief point of view.”

For most football fans, this couldn’t be further from the truth as you they would recall seeing Heineken banners plastered all over the UEFA Champions League games with some of the most creative messagings ever seen.

“When you look at the different lifestyle properties we have, sometimes you see people holding a nice cute glass such as this one here” – Heineken brand manager Motheo Mosoane tells NOWinSA contributor Ondela Payisa. Image: NOWinSA

It doesn’t stop at sports, Mosoane further adds. “Heineken is in all the spaces the young consumers love being at, and also it taps into the different passion points of their lives; that being fashion, music and arts, like today we’re at a gallery.”

And if you weren’t familiar with how deeply Heineken is aligned with its young consumer base, look no further than its current collaboration with rising SA fashion house Fuata Moyo, the forthcoming Hey Neighbour Festival which literally has everyone by the throat, as well as its 13-year long partnership with Africa’s greatest horse racing event, the Durban July for the Boomtown Marquee.

Rising stars: Jointly owned by siblings, Kabambi, Martine, Lucien, and Tshimaro Mbiola, Fuata Moyo has collaborated with several brands this year, among them SA Fasion Week SS23, We Are EGG and most recently Heineken.

Speaking of the importance of brands not only being at the forefront of youth culture, but as well as unforgettable consumer experiences, Mosoane likened Heineken with that “one person you’d wanna be with all the time”, he says. “For me it’s a lifestyle more than anything else because you find it in any form of lifestyle,  whether it’s music or sports

“Plus you can, as a beverage, have it anywhere, anytime and any how you like it. You can drink in different forms and ways … some people use it as a cocktail, some have it with ice in it. Some even use a straw and others use lemon inside as they drink it. When you look at the different lifestyle properties we have, sometimes you see people holding a nice cute glass such as this one here,” he says pointing to a glass on our table. “It actually has Heineken in it, but it’s also a cocktail so that the ladies and any other gender can enjoy it.” 

Launching soon; Spirit of Heineken

As seen in the X post above, t he Spirit of Heineken, a new limited edition bottle to help elevate consumers’ taste profile is also on the way; be on the look out for possible future giveaways we will be doing here at NOWInSA.

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