lighting the path for others - Heineken highlight

The challenge of the Heineken highlight tap design prokect

The brand

Fast paced, deadline driven and requiring a keen eye for quality and detail, ADS2 Brands' in-house print division is a hive of activity. Our design team always start the day with a review of the production schedule. They can have dozens of different projects on the go at any one time, each with their own unique challenges and deadlines, so it's vital that we plan our workload, machinery capacity and changeover times carefully.

Something new was the Heineken Highlight tap. This was just such a challenge, explore ways of illuminating the beer as it is poured. Within the project scope over the timespan of the project there were three target iterations:
Highlight David
Highlight CIT

The concept

Our design process typically starts with a review of our partner's values and of project goals and is part of a broader approach. The highlight beer tap for Heineken demonstrates our unique creative versatility, spanning from limited edition sculptures to feasible design innovation. This is a unique object that conveys passion, strength and enthusiasm – all properties by which the brand is recognized and appreciated. It also features innovation and an assertive style, yet with a flexible structure, capable to valorise a variety of beer brands.
Now that brands play such a strategic role in consumer choices, beer draft taps and towers are undergoing a deep change from merely functional objects to furnishing and interior design items, and thus become true communication vehicles for breweries.

Highlight was a stand-alone retrofit system that could be fitted to any Heineken tap in trade. This required ADS2 to develop a removeable nozzle containing the LED and a flow sensor, a control box and a writing look for the unit. Highlight utilised a single high-powered LED that fired through a bespoke lens to put light directly into the beer stream in the nozzle. This combined with the flow sensor that was engineered to detect the difference between beer and foam created a true innovation.

Final Result

Highlight David used the same principle in the nozzle but here the single tap type allowed for an injection moulded version to be developed, there was no need for a flow sensor as we could package all of the electronics in the handle with the light being activated via a tilt switch when the tap was opened.
Highlight for the CIT system was built on the proprietary Heineken CIT tap that already had a transparent nozzle. Though clever engineering and collaboration with the Heineken team ADS2 were able to embed the light source and electronics package into the front of the tap. By adding a simple reed switch and magnet actuator to the tap handle, the unit again was activated as the tap was opened.

The highlight project delivered a radical series of truly innovative dispense enhancements. This was achieved through a truly seamless collaboration with the ADS2 supply partners and the Heineken NL team.

Our design is always founded on our passion for innovation, design, quality and customer focus. Our unique design and our proven innovation-oriented know how are at the basis of any design and manufacturing project, which is capable to stand out in a highly competitive sector and to enhance the customer experience, as was the case with our partnerships with other international leaders in the business.

There's a lot of checking and monitoring involved in this job. The heater element and settings on our vacuum forming machine need to be inspected regularly to ensure continuity, jigs and fixtures need checking to ensure accurate and detailed print, plus we need to be sure that everything is properly cleaned down as each job finishes. With so much going on at once, managing a print division can be a bit like performing a juggling act. The trick is to keep everything moving smoothly and to not let anything drop!

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