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Heineken behind the red star, Benicio Del Toro

Five things you never knew about Heineken

How much do you really know about the beer brand beyond the iconic red star? Impress your buddies with these fun facts as you enjoy the cold lager on your next night out

Time Out Singapore in partnership with Heineken

There’s more to the red star on the green Heineken packaging

Back in medieval times, the star was a brewer’s symbol. Fast-forward to the present day, and things aren’t that different. Four of the five points on Heineken’s iconic star represent the core ingredients used to make the beer: malted barley, water, hops and Heineken’s unique A-yeast, a strain used exclusively by the brand. Oh, and the fifth point on the red star? It symbolises the ‘unknown magic’ of brewing – sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? – but in this day and age, that last point has come to take on a whole new meaning: passionate and detailed craftsmanship.

Heineken’s special A-yeast is responsible for the beer’s rich flavour and taste

The pure strain of yeast was cultivated in a lab in 1886 by a student of Louis Pasteur and is still used solely by Heineken today. The yeast is highly significant to the process – it acts as a catalyst, kick-starting the reaction as well as imbuing a unique taste to the brew.

To create perfect conditions for the A-yeast, Heineken beer is brewed in horizontal tanks instead of industry-standard vertical ones. Although the former is costlier and takes up more space, they result in a fresh, fruity aroma and a mild bitter taste that makes the beer so distinctive. (Psst… the horizontal fermenters were initially kept as an industry secret but, well, you can't always keep a good thing to yourself.)

The iconic beer is currently being enjoyed in 192 countries each day

Today, the beer is enjoyed worldwide, but in 1873, it didn’t travel much further than Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Founder Gerard Heineken was only 22 years old when he started brewing and put his family name to his new premium lager beer. But through constant innovation over 140 years and four generations, the brand now serves over 25 million Heineken cans and bottles worldwide every day.

Heineken is brewed a little longer than usual lager

The great things in life are worth waiting for. Producing great beer takes time and patience, and a solid 28 days is invested in brewing Heineken to ensure a balanced taste, refreshing clarity and a beautiful golden colour. It’s definitely worth the wait to get the beer’s characteristically rich taste in every sip. 

Heineken’s brand ambassador is Benicio Del Toro!

Watch more videos: Benicio del Toro meets with Heineken's Global Master Brewer, Willem

Many don’t realise that there’s more to Heineken than meets the eye. Likewise, Heineken’s brand ambassador Benicio Del Toro suffers from the same problem – both are famous names that are often misunderstood despite their achievements.

Del Toro has a whole slew of talents besides being a doppelganger for The Mask of Zorro actor Antonio Banderas. He is, in fact, an award-winning Hollywood star, securing an Oscar for his role in Traffic in 2000, and he has even voiced characters in the much-loved animated film The Little Prince. Plus, he is rumoured to play the villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which opens next year.

Want to know Heineken better? Join the Heineken Social Chase from July 27 to August 2, and stand a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Heineken Experience for two to Amsterdam, worth $20,000.

All you have to do is ‘catch’ the most Heineken Star Trucks on Facebook. Visit the Heineken website and Facebook page, and look for clues every day at 5pm from July 27 to August 2.

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