ITALY – Dutch brewing multinational Heineken is investing €73 million (US$81m) to expand the production and packaging capacity of one of its plants in Italy. 

According to a statement from the brewer, the funds will be used to modernise and expand its Assemini brewery, near Cagliari, where Ichnusa beer is produced. 

The renovation will see the addition of a new refrigeration plant, carbon dioxide storage facilities, and cooling towers. 

Facility upgrades will also see the adoption of state-of-the-art automated machinery and the construction of three new warehouses for storing packaging materials and finished products. 

Heineken expects the facility upgrades will boost the packaging capacity of the oldest brewery in Sardinia by more than 60% compared to present numbers. 

The project will also improve the facility’s environmental footprint with a reduction in the consumption of water, electricity and emissions. 

According to managing director Wietse Mutters, with this investment Heineken Italia aims to become a “driving force behind the recovery of beer and the agri-food economy”, after “the pandemic wiped out the entire growth of the sector in the last four years”. 

According to the company, its business plan will support the growth of beer production in Sardinia, with positive impact on the local and national production chain. 

Heineken’s project has attracted support from Italy’s ministry of economic development, the National Agency for Inward Investment and Economic Development (Invitalia) and the Sardinia Region. 

The expansion project will involve a contribution of approximately €14 million (US$15.49m) from the ministry of economic development and €200,000 (US$221, 314) from the Sardinia Region. 

Besides Assemini, Heineken has three other plants in Italy – Comun Nuovo, Massafra and Pollein – in addition to the Milan headquarters and the active partnership in Sicily with Birrificio Messina. 

Heineken and KLM accelerate sustainability drive 

Back home in the Netherlands, Heineken and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have joined forces to bring sustainable beer closer to customers. 

The initiative will see green energy-brewed Heineken beer and 0.0 non-alcoholic lager served onboard KLM flights and in the airline’s lounges. 

Heineken Netherlands revealed that all Heineken beer brewed for the Dutch market is made with 100% green energy in July last year. 

It further noted that it ensures that the amount of sustainably generated energy is at least equal to the energy required to brew and package Heineken beer in the Dutch operation. 

 “This is known as a mass-balance approach and is common in the green energy market,” the company added. 

Heineken says its collaboration with KLM underlines the brewing company’s commitment to operate climate-neutral in its own production by 2030. 

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