Light Wave


Heineken’s hangover: beer sales flat in Q3 after Russia exit

By Jake Beardslee · October 25, 2023

In brief…

  • Heineken beer volumes fell 4.2% in Q3 as company exited Russia market
  • Higher pricing boosted revenue 2% but inflation is slowing demand
  • Sales weak in Europe, more resilient in Americas
  • Full year profit forecast unchanged despite volume declines
Heineken beer sales dropped in Q3 due to lost Russian business and weaker demand from inflation-weary consumers.  Nicola from Fiumicino (Rome), Italy/Wikimedia

Dutch brewing giant Heineken reported a 4.2% drop in beer volumes in the third quarter, as the company completed its exit from Russia and higher prices due to inflation dampened demand.

Heineken announced in March that it would leave Russia, and completed the departure in August by selling its Russian brewing assets to local firm Arnest Group for a nominal fee. The exit came at a cost, with Heineken estimating a 300 million euro hit from winding down operations in Russia, where it was the leading European brewer.

Despite lower volumes, Heineken’s revenue rose 2% in the third quarter to 9.6 billion euros, as the company increased prices to offset rising costs. Heineken said it has raised prices by an average of 8.9% over the first nine months of 2022.

The Dutch brewer reported particular weakness in Europe, where third quarter sales volumes fell 8.6%. Sales held up better in the Americas, rising 2.2%, but dropped 15.4% in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In addition to lost sales in Russia, Heineken cited a sharp volume decline in Vietnam as contributors to the overall slide.

Some of Heineken’s major brands include Heineken, Amstel, Birra Moretti, Tiger Beer and Sol. It trails only AB InBev globally in terms of beer sales.

For the first nine months of 2022, Heineken’s net profit declined 12.4% to 1.9 billion euros. The company left its full-year profit growth forecast unchanged at zero to mid-single digit percentage growth, citing gradually improving business performance despite economic headwinds.

“Whilst inflation-led pricing is tapering, we observe a slowdown of consumer demand in various markets facing challenging macroeconomic conditions,” said Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink.

The brewer has sought to reassure investors after several quarters of what analysts described as overpromising and under delivering financial results. Heineken’s share price rose 2% in early trading following its latest earnings update.