An old Heineken friend Amsterdam recently welcomed a very special guest: Mr. John Hunt. Accompanied by his wife, Mr. Hunt was paying a farewell round of visits to his many friends throughout the world before retiring at age 63 from his post as Director of the Brewing Division of the United Africa Company. Since 1953 he has been closely involved with that company's brewery activities in Africa and he helped Heineken take its initial steps in that continent, in Nigeria. John Hunt saw all that country's breweries being built up, for the business there has been a story of continuing success, despite the setbacks that characterized the initial period and the problems which, of course, still crop up today. Heineken helped construct the production units, and John Hunt is full of praise about the splendid work done by HTB (Heineken Technical/ Technological Service Unit) in Nigeria over the years and about its crowning achievement a few months ago, the completion of the brewery in Ibadan. With an initial capacity of 1.1 million hectolitres and located on a site of some 80 hectares, the Ibadan brewery came on stream this year. As he has always been involved in the commercial side of the business, John Hunt can recount many a tale about the uphill battle, particularly in the 1960s, to boost the sales of the locally produced Star and Gulder beers and also sales of imported Heineken before it was brewed locally. Nowadays marketing has become almost an exact science, but in those years the right decisions were based more on a good nose for business. In the late 'fifties it was certainly an excellent publicity stunt to send up an inflatable Star beer bottle - a balloon 31 metres long and 9 metres in diameter - to advertise the brand in the sky above Lagos. But who would ever have expected the competitors to bring that balloon back down to earth, only a few weeks later, with four well-aimed rifle shots? And, as a further example of the competitors' underhand tactics in those years: the representatives from the competitors who bought in twenty cartons of Star beer, unpacked them and left the bottles to stand in the sun for a day. Then, certain that the beer had been completely spoilt by the hot tropical sun, they put them back on sale again. What answer is there to business practices like that? In spite of such contretemps, John Hunt still believes "It's been great fun and it was always a pleasure to work together with Heineken". Does he plan to stop working now? Definitely not. Although he will have to turn his back on the brewing world, he feels he still needs hard work to keep him on his toes. He also thinks he will always need something to occupy his mind, something to keep him young at heart. So he will therefore be taking up one, perhaps two part-time posts in the educational field. There, too, he will no doubt be able to put his philosophy into practice: "You must only be serious to a certain degree, as you mustn't be afraid to have a good laugh once in a while". We wish John Hunt many more years of laughter. John Hunt (Divisional Managing Director, Brewery Holdings and Services Division of United African Company Ltd.) (left) and his wife say their farewells to J. v. d. Werf (Heineken Executieve Board member). John Hunt takes on the role of temporary captain on an excursion boat touring the Amsterdam canals. 12

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Heineken Contact | 1982 | | pagina 12