Heineken maltsmiths

Heineken is making a move into craft beer with the launch of a two-strong range designed to appeal to the “huge untapped market” of beer drinkers yet to try more flavoursome tipples.

The Maltsmiths Brewing range, available to the off-trade from March, was aimed at the millions of beer-drinking consumers who had yet to try craft, the brewing giant said.

It will initially comprise a Bavarian-style Pilsner and American-style IPA - both with a 4.6% abv, available in 330ml can and bottle formats (rsp: £1.85).

Maltsmiths Pilsner is “crisp and clean with pine and citrus notes, and an earthy hoppy character”, said Heineken, while Maltsmiths IPA “has a caramel base with overlying hop notes of citrus, grapefruit, tropical fruits and a little pine for freshness”.

“People are talking, debating, experimenting and getting excited about new beers. But the fact is, 75% of beer drinking consumers have never tried what is commonly referred to as ‘craft beer’,” said Sam Fielding, who heads the new beer team at Heinken.

“This is about getting curious beer drinkers into the category and expanding their repertoire with more flavoursome beers - which will be a springboard for them to discover beers from the 1,500 breweries in the UK.”

Both Maltsmiths beers were developed by brewers Alex Brandon-Davies and Sarah Bartels, who were chosen by Heineken to “experiment, trial and perfect” the new recipes at the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh.

“We wanted to brew beers that would appeal to the beer-curious, but for whatever reason have yet to experiment,” added Brandon-Davies.

“Using citrus-flavoured hops - namely Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops - we’re hoping that drinkers will love the fuller flavours and it will be their first step into experimenting with beers from the hundreds of other breweries in the UK.”

Maltsmiths will be trialled at this week’s Craft Beer Rising festival in London, with Brandon-Davies and Bartels also supporting the launch with Meet the Brewer events across the country for the trade and consumers.