Freddy Heineken dies

Dutch giant credited with turning beer in green bottles into premium brand

Jan 4, 2002 - Alfred Henry "Freddy" Heineken, who helped make his namesake beer one of the world's most popular brands, has died. He was 78.


The former head of the world's third biggest brewer, Heineken, died in his home in the seaside town of Noordwijk, the company said. Heineken's family will retain his controlling stake in the brewery.

"With the death of Freddy Heineken a unique man left us," said Heineken chief executive Karel Vuursteen in a written statement.

Heineken started his career at the company in June 1942 as an 18-year-old. The brewery was founded by his grandfather, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, in 1864. In 1946 he became a sales manager at the company's U.S. distributor.

During his two year-stay in the United States he became intrigued by marketing and advertising and returned to the company's headquarters in Europe to build the beer as a premium brand. He designed the famous green bottle and the logo with the red star and the graceful black banner bearing the brand name.

And it worked. Heineken's green bottles were more expensive than the alternative, but it didn't hurt their popularity.

Heineken became a member of the brewery's management board in 1964 and served as CEO from 1971 to 1989. He was also the head of Heineken Holding.

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