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Let Science Choose Your Beer

To mark the launch of its new smooth-tasting low carb beer, Heineken® has joined forces with geneticist Andrew Shelling to develop a taste kit that allows beer enthusiasts to understand the science behind their flavour preferences.

Heineken® has released hundreds of ‘taste kits’ for the public to explore their 10,000 taste buds and determine which beer is best suited to their taste buds. Labelled ‘The Heineken® Choice’, the taste kits are free of charge and available in select bars in Auckland.

The launch of the new genetic test kits coincides with the launch of Heineken® Silver, a new product designed to specifically appeal to a new generation of beer drinkers who prefer easy-drinking, smooth, low carb beer. The extra refreshing lager is brewed at a chilled -1°C, resulting in a less bitter taste and a crisp, smooth and subtle finish.

The Heineken® Choice taste kits allow beer enthusiasts to discover the science behind their favourite flavours and reveal the type of beer they prefer – full-bodied or smooth. The kits will be able to detect testers' sensitivity to bitterness using a PTC test.

PTC tests are made using a bitter compound called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and can determine if a person is a "supertaster", "taster", "non-taster", or somewhere in between. All users have to do is place the PTC strip on their tongue. Those who can detect the taste of bitterness will likely prefer the surprising smoothness of Heineken® Silver, whereas those who taste nothing may prefer the profile of Heineken® Original.

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Geneticist Andrew Shelling shares his insights, "We are genetically hardwired to detect bitterness. It is written in our DNA and has evolved to be like that over millions of years for our survival from potentially toxic and poisonous foods.

“Some of us are born to detect strong bitter flavours more strongly than others. Those who are more sensitive to bitterness are likely to make food and drink choices to avoid the taste. However, as we age, our bitter taste sensitivity also changes.”

Supertasters are those who are more likely to detect bitterness in food and drink and make up roughly 25% of the general population. These tasters are likely to avoid foods such as broccoli, spinach, coffee, and dark chocolate.

The launch of Heineken® Silver expands the brand's offerings by bringing a friendly, easy-to-drink beverage to those who don't usually consider beer their go-to alcoholic drink of choice.

With the rise in popularity of low carb beer – which has grown 22% over the past year alone – the new product will be welcomed with open hands.

Cormac van den Hoofdakker from DB Breweries describes Heineken® as a beer for everyone: "Heineken® Silver is crafted to meet the needs of a new generation of beer drinkers with a lower carb, lower-calorie recipe, making it the perfect choice for sipping at concerts, sporting events, or any occasion where friends gather to enjoy all of life's flavour,”

“The Heineken® Choice can unlock the secret to your favourite flavours and help you discern – are you a fan of the OG or do you approve of smooth?"

To discover what Heineken® flavour is ideal for you and your 10,000 taste buds, head to one of the on-premise sites below and ask for The Heineken® Choice:



HEINEKEN is the world's most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 300 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through "Brewing a Better World", sustainability is embedded in the business. Heineken® has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 85,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries.

About The Heineken® Choice:

To mark the launch of Heineken® Silver, Heineken® has leveraged genetic research in collaboration with Professor Andrew Shelling, to develop taste kits so beer enthusiasts can unlock the secret to their flavour preferences. The tests will be available at select bars in Auckland for a limited time, so you can put your taste buds to the test and find out which Heineken® you’d prefer.

Andrew Shelling:

Professor Andrew Shelling has been involved in genetics for the past 40 years, working on a range of medical conditions. He is involved in teaching genetics at the University of Auckland. His research is primarily interested in understanding the molecular changes that occur during the development of genetic disorders.

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