Business Case Studies, Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study, Heineken’s Beer Branding: Bringing ‘Starbucks Coffee Experience’ to Beer

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Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study

Case Title:

Heineken’s Beer Branding: Bringing ‘Starbucks Coffee Experience’ to Beer

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Priti Krishnan

Industry: Beverages


Case Code: BBP0105

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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This case study, while providing a landscape of the beer industry, offers scope to discuss the factors behind the declining market share of beer. In the light of this, the case also enables a discussion on the relevance of Heineken’s concept of branded beer bars at international airports. Apart from that the case also explores the challenges that Heineken would face in bringing the Starbucks experience to beer given the fact that coffee and beer are similar and dissimilar in many ways.

Globally, as beer is regarded as a homogenous product, breweries have long been adopting unique ways to differentiate and create consumer preferences. However since the 1990s, the most preferred drink – Beer is being viewed as ordinary and old-fashioned. Beer manufacturers failed to create consumer demand and lost market share to wine and other liquors. To counter this, the world’s top brewers adopted many techniques. Among others, Heineken, one of the world’s most recognised beer brands launched branded beer bars at Hong Kong’s International Airport in March 2007. The idea was to win back customers by providing them with a unique experience. Sounds familiar? The idea is taken from Starbucks, the world’s leading retailer, roaster, and brand of specialty coffee that successfully made coffee synonymous with itself.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the critical succes factors of the beer industry with specific reference to branding
  • To analyse the relevance of the branding strategies adopted by beer manufacturers
  • To explore the feasibility of a branded beer bar
  • To debate whether Heineken would succeed in bringing the ‘Starbucks experience to beer’?

Keywords : Starbucks, Brands, Branding, Beer, Heineken, Budweiser, Bud Light, Breweries, Retailing, Premium Brands, Brand Personality, Marketing Strategies, Consumer Behaviour


  • Beer Industry – An Overview
  • The Value Chain of the Beer Industry
  • Heineken's Brand Building Strategies
  • Heineken's Marketing Strategy: A Comparison between Europe and South Africa

  • Heineken Introduces Branded Bars at Airports
  • Starbucks
  • Replicating the Starbucks Experience: The Challenge?

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