Gillane has had to take a glass-half-full attitude to business over the past year. With the on-trade shut or restricted, he is pleased to report that Heineken has grown its share in the off-trade, with Italian lager Moretti being one of the star performers. Gillane and his team did manage to develop and launch Inch’s Cider in April 2021. “A child of lockdown” is how he describes the beverage, which is positioned as a “sustainable cider” and was supported by a TV campaign created by Otherway. Another highlight in the cider arena came for Gillane at the start of this year when Strongbow Rosé, which is made from blush apples, was named a Product of the Year in the eponymous annual awards. “Keeping our foot down” on these three products is a priority for Gillane, as is a move to broaden the brand’s portfolio of low- and no-alcohol drinks.
He is proud that Heineken has introduced a cardboard topper that is being rolled out across all its can multipacks, a move that, combined with the removal of shrink-wrapping, will eliminate 517 tonnes of plastic annually. “It’s not cheap but it’s the right choice,” Gillane says.