Strong position for Heineken
and Amstel in Gulf states
For many years now the Heineken
and Amstel brands have been
successfully exported to the Gulf
states: the oil-producing countries of
Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and
Oman. The Gulf states represent an im
portant export market for Heineken:
after the United States and Puerto Rico,
the area ranks third in the Heineken
charts of the most successful export
markets. Heineken is represented in the
Gulf states by Gray Mackenzie, a British
importer which has had establishments
in the countries round the Gulf ever
since the nineteenth century.
Anyone who exports has to abide by
the rules of the country concerned. This
very much holds true for the Gulf states,
since these are Islamic countries and
the import and sale of alcoholic drinks
is not freely permitted. A limited
number of importers are allowed to re
tail alcoholic drinks to non-Muslim con
sumers, in other words to the hundreds
of thousands of expatriates. These ar
rived in the Gulf states when, after the
start of oil production, those countries
had to develop their infrastructure,
which meant building whole cities at
tremendous speed in the desert areas.
The Gulf states house vast numbers
of expatriates. As an illustration: in
Dubai the total population is 800,000.
About 600,000 of these are expatriates.
But this does not mean that the coun
try's potential beer market consists of
600,000 consumers; many of the expat
riates originate from Asian, Islamic
countries, so that they are also subject
to the ban on the consumption of al
The consumers who are allowed al
coholic drinks have to possess a liquor
permit which entitles them to spend a
limited amount on purchasing alcoholic
drinks (mainly beer and whisky) each
month. The permitted quantity of al
cohol depends on their income. In addi
tion, they may only consume alcohol in
their home. There are also several hotel
and restaurant establishments in which
alcohol may be served to non-Muslims.
Because of religious reasons, no adver
tising for beer is allowed on television.
Promotions, too, have to be held in
closed, private gatherings. Heineken's
export department, in cooperation with
Gray Mackenzie, initiates promotional
campaigns in hotels and restaurants by
running lotteries, offering free advertis
ing articles or organising beer festivals,
whilst there is also sponsorship of, say,
rugby teams which play their matches
on private grounds away from the gen
eral public, thus avoiding any infringe
ment of Islamic laws.
Once a year representatives of the
Heineken export department get to
gether with the management and sales
representatives of Gray Mackenzie for
the Heineken Conference. Both sides
give presentations on the progress of
their business and on the position of
our brands in the various Gulf states.
They also reach agreements on prices,
promotions and new products or packs.
The meeting between
representatives of Gray
Mackenzie and Heineken.
Centre, in the blue suit: Mr. G.R.
Habbershaw, Heineken Export
Director, and on his left Mr. C.
Johnson, marketing director of
Gray Mackenzie. Next to Mr.
Johnson is Mr. E. Morham,
Heineken regional export
manager. On Mr. Habbershaw's
right is Mr. J. WDeurvorst, area
export manager of Heineken.
THE WORLD OF HEINEKEN