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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Heineken NV will introduce two new beers -- Amstel Wheat and Tecate Michelada -- to the United States this month, as the beer maker works to improve its business in the key market.
According to Reuters, the new launches signal a move by the Netherlands-based brewer to lessen its reliance in Europe, where beer consumption is expected to remain sluggish as the economy continues to struggle.
In recent years, many beer drinkers have switched to wine and spirits, as distilleries unleashed a flood of new products. Beer makers have not been as innovative, and Heineken not as innovative as other brewers, said Lesya Lysyj, Heineken USA's chief marketing officer, in an interview. "We've been an under-innovator in an under-innovated category," Lysyj said. "Our business was not on a growth trajectory over the last several years."
Amstel Wheat is the brand's first U.S. line extension in more than a decade. It will be available in bottles in the Northeast, Chicago and Minneapolis after a year-long test on draught, the news outlet reported.
As for Tecate, the new product will be the first canned, ready-to-drink michelada sold in the United States. A michelada is a beer cocktail popular in Mexico that combines beer with lime, salt, spices and hot sauce. Heineken acquired Tecate, a Mexican beer, through its 2010 acquisition of Femsa's beer business.
After years of declining U.S. sales, Heineken is now seeing sales grow, Lysyj said, helped by a greater focus on marketing its flagship brand.