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Heineken Hangs Up Desperados in the U.S.

Tequila-flavored beer discontinued; company says it will focus on core brands

NEW YORK -- Twenty months after bringing its tequila-flavored beer Desperados to the United States, Heineken USA is discontinuing the drink here, the importer confirmed this week. desperados

Desperados is a 6% alcohol beer, aged in tequila barrels with added tequila and lemon flavors.

"Desperados is being discontinued in the U.S.," a spokesperson told CSP Daily News. "This decision will bring more simplicity to Heineken USA's teams and how they manage the portfolio in the field, while also adding some efficiencies to the supply chain with distributor and retail partners."

Launched in the United States in April 2014, Desperados is a Latin-inspired European import beer and was Heineken's entry into the "spirited-beer category," which mixed beer with the flavors of high-alcohol spirits and targeted millennial-aged consumers, according to the company. At that time, Heineken called it a "game-changer" beer that embraced "the high-energy and nightlife image usually associated with spirits such as tequila."

"Desperados ... is leading the development of the new 'spirited beer' segment globally," Heineken said in 2014. The beer was launched initially in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina. While a national launch was planned for 2015, the beer remained a regional brand, never quite picking up steam the way the brewer had hoped. But it continues to sell well overseas, according to the company.

"We're shifting our focus to continue amplifying our four priority brands of Heineken/Heineken Light, Dos Equis, Strongbow and Tecate," a Heineken USA spokesperson told AdAge. "Desperados is a great brand that's growing globally, but domestically, we want to remain laser-focused on those four."

For consumers craving tequila flavor in their beer, there's still Anheuser-Busch's Oculto, which was introduced earlier this year. The brand is available nationally, but the focus market for now is Miami.

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