it "Our partnership with Heineken started because my father, Albert Wengler, liked the quality of the beer and its reputation. He wanted to become the exclusive distributor of Heineken® in Luxembourg. He was convinced that Heineken® and Caves Wengler would be a good match. It is the premium beer he was looking for to match our offering of premium wines, champagnes and spirits. My father was very determined and said: 'I only want Heineken, no other beer.'" PROUD TO SIGN ON It was a good instinct: Heineken shared the Wengler vision. On the 5th of June 1978 Gérard went to Amsterdam with his father and uncles Paul and Edmond to sign the contract with Mr Freddy Heineken himself. "I was 25 years old at the time. I clearly remember that my father was very proud to meet Mr Heineken in person," says Gérard. BEER LOVING NATION The match worked well, also because Luxembourg is a beer loving nation well able to appreciate a fine brew. "Luxembourg has a fair number of beer breweries, given its tiny size." says Damian Dabkowski, Heineken Manager Export Licenses for the Western Europe region. The principality has a population of around 440,000 and a total beer consumption of 370,000 hectolitres a year. There are two main local brewers, but Heineken® is the leading imported premium beer brand in Luxembourg, with a market share of more than 2 per cent. "The market share of Heineken® has increased steadily since Caves Wengler became the sole distributor. This is quite an achievement, given that annual per capita beer consumption in Luxembourg has fallen from 120 to about 85 litres over the last few years." STILL GROWING Caves Wengler aims at an annual increase of 10 per cent to 15 per cent a year for Heineken®, in both volume and turnover, says Gérard."Heineken® is our number one selling brand in terms of volume. We cover 100 per cent of Luxembourg's supermarkets and fuel stations, and 90 per cent of all restaurants. We reach the bars and bistros via our wholesale business. We also have some 6,000 customers." Internet sales have started to become more interesting recently, he adds. The firm mostly offers bottled beer, but five litre Heineken® DraughtKegs are available from the web shop. HEART OF EUROPE Luxembourg, while not an obvious choice at first sight, is clearly a strategic market for Heineken. "It's not one of our largest export markets but it's a very suitable market for us," says Damian. "Luxembourg is situated in the heart of Europe, and bordered by big beer-loving countries Germany and Belgium, as well as France, famous for its wine. The Luxembourgers have a tradition of eating out and they take time for business lunches or dinners at bars and restaurants." The principality also hosts many expats because the city of Luxembourg is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the European Union. Luxembourg is also very popular amongst nature- loving tourists and cross-border shoppers, who take advantage of lower petrol prices, he says. As the exclusive distributor to petrol stations in Luxembourg, Caves Wengler therefore helps Heineken® to reach cross-border shoppers. All of those factors combined make Luxembourg an interesting beer market for Heineken.

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World of Heineken | 2008 | | pagina 54