We recently caught up with Marcelo Amstalden Moller, Global Director of the International Premium Beer Portfolio at Heineken to discuss the company’s most recent addition to the APAC beer landscape.
Edelweiss, billed as an alpine wheat beer, first launched in a pilot program in Korea and has now made its way to the rest of the region. According to Moller, the upward shift in standards of suds is par for the course.
“APAC is now starting to explore the world of beer beyond lager, which is the usual trend of premiumization. Being accessible in taste with delicate flavours, wheat beer matches perfectly well Asian taste preferences,” he said.
The beer scene in Asia has changed dramatically in the past few years. There are more options than ever. What’s behind Heineken’s decision to introduce a wheat beer to the region?
Monitoring growth trends and changing tastes data is a constant process at Heineken, and it’s thanks to this process that we’ve been able to spot the potential for Edelweiss in these markets.
APAC is now starting to explore the world of beer beyond lager, which is the usual trend of premiumization. Being accessible in taste with delicate flavours, wheat beer matches perfectly well Asian taste preferences. In some markets, wheat beer has been developing very quickly, taking significant shares of premium beers. We expect that the rest of the region will also develop in a similar way while maturing.
We ran a pilot launch in Korea where we saw strong results. This left us confident that we could launch into additional Asia-Pacific markets for consumers looking for non-lager beers that are premium and act as a great tasting alternative to more traditional offerings.
Could you walk us through the new campaign?
Edelweiss’ new Feel the Alps campaign is about honouring the product’s longstanding heritage as an authentic wheat beer while also conveying the essence of the product’s unique, fresh flavour that’s like taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air. The European Alps are free, revitalizing, and exciting and Edelweiss captures that Alpine spirit.
The creative captures the unique personality of the brand and establishes it as a premium wheat beer steeped in 375 years of Alpine heritage. The TVC, that is set to air across TV & digital in Korea and Russia this summer and premiered in other markets later this year, takes the viewer on a cinematic, sensory journey through the Alpine landscape and has been designed to captivate the unique personality of the brand and the alps.
“While Western Europe still holds the largest share of the wheat beer market with 60% of total volumes, there is no doubt a growing appetite amongst beer drinkers in Asia.”
We developed the campaign alongside the Fred & Farid team in Los Angeles and shot in real locations in the Alps. Feel the Alps is the brand platform of Edelweiss, and the tagline that will be used to launch in the Asian market.
What challenges are there between targeting the APAC region in comparison with European markets?
There are always nuances when it comes to targeting new markets. For example, consumers across APAC tend to have different preferences regarding taste and marketing to those in western Europe, so we’re mindful of these when introducing new products, to ensure we continue to resonate with our consumers wherever they are.
We appreciate that what makes a product great in European markets may not necessarily be reflected in APAC, which is why, following testing, we slightly adapted our great tasting wheat beer by offering a contemporary twist to our traditional brand that still channels the snow-capped peaks and crisp air of the Alps.
Light beers like Heineken’s own Tiger are ubiquitous throughout much of Asia, what changing consumer demands have you seen in the region?
While Western Europe still holds the largest share of the wheat beer market with 60% of total volumes, there is no doubt a growing appetite amongst beer drinkers in Asia. Therefore, we have an opportunity, to break into these markets with an alternative to lager
To meet this opportunity and address consumer demand for premium wheat beer products, Heineken wants to position Edelweiss as the regions go to premium alpine wheat beer, that can dominate in this sector of the market. We think our APAC consumers will respond well thanks to our brand’s rich heritage, credibility, and taste as shown in our successful pilot launch in Korea.