How thousands of tourists see beer in the making "When you're in Amsterdam, be sure to visit Heineken!" This, it appears, is one of the most popular pieces of advice given by Americans to friends and relatives about to leave for holidays in Europe. And most of them seem to accept it. In the 12 months ended in October last year, for example, more than 50,000 tour ists visited the Amsterdam brewery on the corner of Ferdinand Bolstraat and Stad houderskade in the heart of the city. In summer this brewery attracts a flow of visitors so great that Heineken doubles its reception rate by arranging two daily tours. One tour accommodates 170 visi tors and it's always quite clear from a single glance at a summer queue, stretch ing along the Heineken frontage and round the corner, that many of those waiting will be disappointed. Or at least will have to come back - and be earlier next time. How is it, Heineken executives often won der, that so many thousands of people turn up for tours which are hardly advertised? It has to be a self-generating word-of-mouth process. The beer offered every visitor be fore departure obviously has a great deal to do with it. Heineken is after all well known and highly respected as a premium beer in the U.S. The prospect of seeing the place where this delectable beverage is produced and, incredibly, actually drink ing some of it as a guest of the brewery - this prospect simply has to be one of Amster dam's highly rated tourist attractions. In fact it's not entirely free. Every visitor to the Amsterdam brewery pays an entrance fee of one Dutch guilder (about 50 U.S. cents) and the proceeds are annua- ally donated to charity, being divided equally between Terre des Hommes, UNI CEF, the World Wildlife Fund and the International Red Cross. On entering, each visitor is given a small boQklet outlining the company's history, together with a postcard which explains the brewing process by means of a simple cartoon. The visitors are divided into groups of 15 to 20 each, conducted by guides who are in fact law students from Amsterdam University. First and most spectacular point of interest is the famous copper kettle brewing house where the rich gleam of the burnished in stallations is an irresistible subject for photographers. Next comes the fermentation room, cold by contrast, with its thick white foam and the air heavy with the characteristic smell of beer in the making. Then the friendly warmth and clatter of the bottling hall, for many visitors the most fascinating part of the tour. The question most frequently asked, is - "Is this the same beer that we get at home in the States - in green bottles?" The answer of course is "Yes, you get the same Heineken wher ever you buy the beer - anywhere in the world." And that answer is reaffirmed at the end of the tour when the Heineken film is shown and the viewers see yeast from the original culture both in use and being shipped to areas where beer is locally brewed. At the end of the tour the groups meet and take their first beer in the reception room on the top floor of the brewery. As they drink and talk the reception manager asks, "Does anyone have a birthday today?" Almost invariably a number of hands shoot up. And for each of these fortunate tourists there is a gift of a beautiful Delft pottery beer mug in blue and white in scribed with the words "Happy Birthday" and filled, naturally, with beer. Another drink for everyone, served with Dutch cheese and crisps, and then the lights dim and the film is shown. If the weather is fine and clear, a walk on the ter race follows and the guests have a breath taking view of central Amsterdam. The guides show their knowledge of the city, naming the many towers, spires and cupolas that adorn the landscape. Then the reception manager wishes the visitors good-bye. On their way out they pass a little souvenir shop where there are brisk sales of Heineken T-shirts, glasses, aprons and souvenir mugs - the latter an especially popular purchase. After all, not all tourists can arrange to visit Heineken on their birthdays! 3 A visit to Heineken

Jaarverslagen en Personeelsbladen Heineken

Heineken Contact | 1980 | | pagina 3