Technology will be the “most connected beer” | The World | expanding | will

Digitization is a concept that has flooded all sectors of the economy and the beverage sector is no stranger to it. However, not every brewery can aspire to become “the most connected beer” like HEINEKEN Spain does.

For Luis Nunez-Villaveiran Blanco

For us, digitization is a means, not an end, ours is to make beer,” says Javier Álvarez Sánchez, Director of Information Systems at Heineken Spain. Even so, this company has been committed to innovation around the world for more than 150 years. An ascending line that recently received a big boost thanks to technology.

Digital transformation translates to all stages of the brewery value chain, from field to consumer, in a seamless and integrated way:

Production: Technology is a constant in HEINEKEN factories, which seek to improve their automated processes by introducing sensors and the IoT. These instruments provide data that enables real-time decision-making through a dashboard specifically designed to improve production lines, both in terms of efficiency and productivity, in an ambitious project implemented at scale. world called Connected Brewery.

Distribution: HEINEKEN Spain not only has its own distribution but also more than 600 partners for it, but the company wants everyone to benefit from the advantages that digitization offers them. To achieve this, the brewery is working to make available to all its partners a suite of innovative tools that will further improve the already existing digital relationship, allowing them to work together more effectively.

Sale: HEINEKEN operates two channels in Spain, offtrade (food chains) and ontrade (hotels). In the first, they seek an exchange of information that assumes a ‘win-win’ for both. In the second case, they want to help bars take a technological leap forward with a holistic proposal that makes their businesses more competitive. Currently, it has the “Fuerza Bar” digital platform ( to place orders, solve incidents or obtain interesting information quickly and easily, with just one click. In addition, the company is working on the computerization of its beer dispensers with IoT technologies and has various pilot projects underway, which will continue to strengthen its leadership in this channel and which will see the light of day in the first quarter of 2023.

Javier Álvarez Sánchez (left), director of information systems at Heineken Spain, toasts with José Álvarez de Perea (right), director of Kyndryl Vital in Spain and Portugal

five pillars

HEINEKEN bases its digitalization strategy on five pillars: digitally transforming the “front end” (the path to the customer), making decisions based on data (Big Data), simplifying and automating processes (with the aim of making life of your team and modernize and strengthen the security of your ‘back end’ (development of local applications for the financial environment, specific digital products, tools to fight against cyberattacks and phishing) while maintaining your ambition to to have the best human capital to make all this possible, always without forgetting that technology is a facilitator that puts itself at the service of people and must help the company take care of them in order to attract and retain talent.

A “talent” who can telecommute up to 64 hours per month as it suits him best, in compliance with its “Smart working” policy, so to facilitate the entire collaborative work environment, the company has operated its complete transformation based on more supported features. in Cloud vs traditional architectures, opening it up completely and therefore requiring transformation with more dynamism, flexibility and network capacity. All meetings are supported from the cloud, for example. Nothing else? In addition, it is finalizing other initiatives such as cloud printing or application virtualization to provide a much more agile and flexible response.


Digitization of Heineken implies improvements in its processes, efficiency or productivity, but it also brings very important benefits in terms of sustainability. It implements its Resolutely Green roadmap, with which it aspires to be carbon neutral across its entire value chain by 2040, and strengthens its contribution to the environment and the circular economy, to social and environmental sustainability. responsible consumption.

Proof of this are some of the latest steps taken by the company in our country. Thanks to the application of new technologies, HEINEKEN has Spain’s first zero-emission brewery in Jaén, which operates exclusively with renewable energy. Additionally, 78% of its raw materials are sustainably grown and it has been a pioneer in promoting low-emission logistics with technologically innovative solutions for last-mile transport, demonstrating that beer cannot be digitized, but everything else is, and that innovation plays a key role in its sustainable business model to become the best-connected brewery.

Open and collaborative innovation

To solve the most complex business challenges, companies must approach innovation with an open and collaborative, data-driven and designer-led approach, in which ideation techniques are of great help. As José Álvarez de Perea, director of Kyndryl Vital in Spain and Portugal, explains to us, “In the co-creation of technological solutions, it is essential to put people at the heart of everything we design. It is the principle that guides us in the work we have begun with Heineken to achieve their business objectives, meet real needs and provide users with facilities that guarantee real transformation. Thanks to this, we managed to improve efficiency, quality of services and user experience.”

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