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A pint of Heineken at the 19th

Matthew Fitzpatrick, On Trade Key Accounts Manager, United wines 

So…picture this; it’s two days before the deadline for this month’s blog and I receive a call from one of my colleagues in marketing saying “The blog you’ve written about that fantastic new product will have to wait…we need you to write a completely new blog…and we need it tomorrow!”

Now in any normal circumstances this would be an absolute nightmare…but the news I received after this had me so excited to dust off the old typewriter and get cracking… “We’ve just been confirmed as the official pouring partner of The Open, and we need you to shout about it!” And shout about it I will!

In case you don’t already know, The Open is probably the most prestigious Golf tournament in the world. This year marks the 148th year of the championship, which will see some of the sports best players come together at Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951. You can be sure that we are guaranteed four days of unforgettable craic alongside some world class golf not to be missed.

Even with all this excitement I’m still left with some serious questions; Will Tiger be able to win his first open for over 10 years? Will Rory do the home fans proud and win his 5th Major? Do I bet on the golfer who has the same name as me for the 56th time in a row even though he never wins? And finally, most importantly of all…what pint will be in my hand on Sunday at Royal Portrush?

During the tournament all those lucky enough to have gotten a ticket (they sold out in record time!) will have three on course draught options, Heineken; the iconic Dutch lager and official sponsor of Uefa Champions League, Champions Cup and Formula 1 – in essence, sport epitomises Heineken and Heineken epitomises sport. Orchard Thieves Cider; the fastest growing cider brand in Northern Ireland, perfect for a hot summers day on the North Coast! And Murphy’s Stout; Every now and then I think it’s good to remind people that there is more than one stout brewed on the island of Ireland, so have a pint of pure cork, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

There is an expected 250,000 spectators across the week…that’s a quarter of a million people! This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Heineken portfolio to a huge local and international audience – not only on the course, but also in your on trade outlet. We plan on running a number of activations relating to The Open across bars, and golf clubs who will be screening the tournament in the immediate vicinity of Royal Portrush, but also right across the country. This will enable you to maximise rate of sale by capitalising on the association Heineken will have with The Open as well as the popularity of the brand that already exists amongst the cosmopolitan golf fans that will be descending on our island.

With that many spectators expected at Royal Portrush, and the likelihood being that after travelling from far and wide they will be craving a pint or two of Heineken we knew that our standard 50L Keg would not be a practical solution to this level of demand; imagine how many times the poor bar staff would have to change a keg! Luckily this isn’t Heineken’s first rodeo; but for the first time in Northern Ireland we will be rolling out Heineken Event Tankers, the same ones that get used at some of the biggest summer festivals in Ireland, each holding almost 50,000 pints…and we have 4 of them!

So if you’re at Royal Portrush between 14th – 21st of July, drink in the atmosphere…and do us a favour…drink a couple of pints too – I don’t think those event tankers were bought on sale or return.

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