HEINEKEN USA Kicks Off its ‘Behind the Label’ Initiative by Examining Gender Diversity in the Industry

HEINEKEN USA today announced the launch of its Behind the Label initiative, a program designed to foster inclusion & diversity across the alcoholic beverage industry by celebrating the people, processes and passion that make up this varied field. The team is kicking off these discussions with the release of Behind the Label: Gender Diversity and the Alcoholic Beverage Industry, a report examining how the industry has progressed on gender diversity to-date, and where there are opportunities to improve and evolve.

While women have made gains in the beer, wine and spirits over the past decades, there is still opportunity to further level the playing field when it comes to gender diversity, particularly at the leadership levels. HEINEKEN USA’s report leverages external diversity research and insights from women working across the three-tier system – from suppliers and distributors to retailers and associations – to identify the opportunities and challenges for greater inclusion. While these women are in different roles and at different levels of their careers, they all pointed to three distinct areas for improving gender diversity in the field: elevating recruitment efforts, diversifying work options, and encouraging allyship.

“The beverage industry has always been focused on connecting people, but we often know very little about the different people and skillsets that must come together to bring us our favorite drinks,” said Maggie Timoney, Chief Executive Officer of HEINEKEN USA. “I’m very passionate about uniting as an industry to continue to celebrate the hard-working, creative minds in this field and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive. By doing so, we not only create a more innovative and inclusive industry – we also ensure that we’re connecting with the best and brightest of our future leaders.”

Across the majority of interviews, recruitment stood out as a way to connect with a broader pool of talent than the field traditionally has in the past. Many of the women interviewed noted that while the beverage industry has done an excellent job advancing diversity when it comes to marketing its products, it has lagged in marketing career opportunities to top talent (and women) outside the industry. To do this, industry organizations must consider starting discussions with potential recruits earlier in their careers, and address the barriers to entry and growth that have traditionally kept women from advancing in the field.

The past year-and-a-half showed that even in a relationship-heavy industry like beverage, technology and other tools can be used to diversify work options and level the playing field for women. While assumptions about their ability to travel for work or after-hours networking may have played a role in hampering advancements in the past, now there is a better understanding of all the different ways people in the field can still connect and succeed.

Through the multi-year Behind the Label initiative, HEINEKEN USA intends to both celebrate the myriad of talents that come together every day to bring consumers their favorite beverages and challenge the idea that the alcoholic beverage industry is only for certain types of people. By identifying the areas that will have the most impact on diversity in the industry – whether it be gender, race or ethnicity – the organization aims to make it a more inclusive environment for its own workers and others.

To read the report and learn more about HEINEKEN USA’S Behind the Label initiative, visit

The launch of Behind the Label: Gender Diversity and the Alcoholic Beverage Industry also supports HEINEKEN’s global Brew a Better World framework, which raises the bar with a new set of commitments aimed at creating a positive impact on the environment, social sustainability, and the responsible consumption of alcohol by 2030. Globally, HEINEKEN is aiming to improve gender balance across senior management roles to achieve 30% of female representation by 2025 and 40% by 2030. For more information on Brew a Better World 2030, click here.


HEINEKEN USA spoke one-on-one with 13 U.S.-based women in different roles across the alcoholic beverage industry from in April and May 2021. These women represented suppliers, distributors, and retailers working with or in the beer, wine, and spirits fields. In addition to this original research, the HUSA team also reviewed and synthesized research from several verified third-party sources, including McKinsey & Company, Catalyst, Deloitte, the Harvard Business Review, and others.


HEINEKEN USA a subsidiary of HEINEKEN International N.V., the world’s most international brewer. Key brands imported into the U.S. are Heineken® – the world’s most international beer brand, Heineken® 0.0 – an alcohol-free beer innovation, the Dos Equis Franchise, the Tecate Franchise and AriZona SunRise Hard Seltzer. HEINEKEN USA also imports Amstel Light, Red Stripe, Tiger Beer, Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders, Birra Moretti, Bohemia and more. For news and updates, follow us on Twitter @HeinekenUSACorp, or visit

Photo: ©iStockphoto | xavierarnau