Heineken imports Amstel line extensions

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For the first time since its 1980 U.S. debut, Amstel Light is being joined by its sister brands. Heineken USA last week introduced Amstel Bier and Amstel 1870 to several U.S. markets, and plans to start a national rollout by yearend.

The country's leading beer importer plans to support all three with a $20 million marketing campaign that starts mid-May. Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York, is overseeing the print, TV, radio, and outdoor advertising.

TRYING FOR SEGMENT LEADERSHIP

"We want to be the leader in the import specialty segment," said Rick Tearno, VP-corporate affairs. "These brands fit right into that."

The big push--Heineken USA doled out only $12 million to market Amstel Light in 1996--reflects the importer's desire to boost its U.S. market share and bolster brand awareness.

Besides distributing Amstel Light, the top imported light beer, Heineken USA handles Heineken Lager and Special Dark, Murphy's Irish Stout and Irish Amber, and the non-alcoholic brew Buckler.

The increase in Amstel marketing mirrors a boost for the distributor's flagship brand. The importer has said it would spend 50% more on marketing Heineken in 1997 than it did last year, or about $30 million.

The new beers were introduced May 1 in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Washington, as well as statewide in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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