Amstel Brewery was the now-defunct competitor to Heineken, located near the center of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It opened its doors on the Mauritskade in Amsterdam on June 11, 1870 as De Pesters, Kooy & Co. Two years later its annual Pilsner production had risen to 10,000 hectoliters and in 1890 it was renamed “Beijersch Bierbrouwerij De Amstel” (The Bavarian Amstel Brewery) after the river close by. Cooling for the lagering of their pilsner was made possible by taking ice from the nearby canals in the winter and storing it in specially made double-walled cellars to provide sufficient cooling during the warmer months. Amstel was taken over by rival Heineken in 1968 and its Mauritskade brewery was demolished in 1982. Only the head office (now used as a college) on the Mauritskade dating from 1930 and a product line of beers using the Amstel name still remain. Its fruity Pilsner is now brewed using its own proprietary yeast strain at the Heineken Zoeterwoude facility, while its special beers (e.g., Bock) are brewed in Den Bosch. Amstel beers, while being targeted at the average no-nonsense beer drinker, are typically more pronounced in character than their Heineken counterparts. Experimental brews are often launched under the Amstel name to prevent tarnishing the Heineken image should they fail to succeed. Amstel Bock was the first Bock beer brewed in the Netherlands when it was released as “Winter” beer in 1872 and is widely regarded to be the “reference” for the Dutch variation of this style. The American market is only familiar with Amstel Light (3.5% ABV), a low-calorie lager introduced by Heineken in 1980. It remains a leading foreign light beer brand in the United States.

See also heineken.