A message from HEINEKEN UK:
At HEINEKEN UK, we’re busy getting ready for the pubs to open again in July, as lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to lift. Our focus is on ensuring we’re in a position to support you to reopen in line with Government Guidance.
We’re writing to let you know that we will be making changes to the best before dates (BBDs) on kegged beers and flavoured ciders and to explain our rationale for doing this and what you can expect to see.
What are we doing?
We’re extending the BBDs on our existing stock of keg beer and flavoured cider, to six and nine months respectively. This will become the standard for future productions.
Why are we doing this?
In the short term, these changes make sure we are in a position to support a swift restart of the On Trade.
The BBDs applied to kegs have historically been set to help stock rotation in trade – they don’t reflect an expiry date of beer and cider quality. Around 95% of our kegs are normally returned to us within just three weeks of filling, to be cleaned and filled again. This system has worked well for many years however, the present situation has given us cause to reassess this.
We know that our beers and ciders in keg are as stable as our can and bottle products, which we date for up to a year. In fact, for export keg products we apply a minimum six months BBDs for beer, and many of our Cider brands already have up to twelve months shelf life. Going forward, having confirmed there’s no impact on product quality, we’ve also taken the decision to extend the BBDs on any new keg production from our sites.
Why are you redating stock in your warehouses but not the stock in customer’s cellars?
Whilst we can confirm the suitable conditions of storage of our products in our network to ensure its quality, we can’t do the same for stock that’s in customers’ cellars. We’ve also been able to assess representative sample batches of stock in our network to ensure the quality and freshness is up to our high standards. It’s for this reason, we’ve taken the decision to extend the BBD of stock in our network and not stock that’s already been delivered to customers.
What can you expect to see?
On initial deliveries, you may find two stickers on the kegs, the original sticker from the time of production and an additional sticker confirming that an extension has been authorised. Examples of what this may look like can be found below.
The original sticker remains in place as it contains relevant legal information required to maintain traceability.
Only the standard label will be present on the keg for future productions.
The quality of our beer and cider is of the utmost importance to both us and you. We’re confident that this change has no impact on product quality and that your customers will continue to enjoy our products without any deterioration of quality.