Heineken is launching two beers under the Maltsmiths Brewing brand to tap into the growing trend for canned craft beers.

The range, which will initially comprise a Bavarian-style Pilsner and an American-style IPA, will be available from March. The two 4.6% abv beers will be priced at £1.85 for a 33cl can or bottle in the off-trade.

Maltsmiths Pilsner is described as crisp and clean with pine and citrus notes, and a hoppy character. Maltsmiths IPA has a caramel base with overlying hop notes of citrus, grapefruit, tropical fruits “and a little pine for freshness”.

The beers were developed by the company’s star brewers Alex Brandon-Davies and Sarah Bartels, who created the recipes at the famous Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh. The beers were developed at ‘Wee George’, which is the small experimental pilot brewery at the Caledonian site. 

Brandon-Davies said: “I was really excited when I was given the opportunity to work on this project. We wanted to brew beers that would appeal to the beer-curious but for whatever reason, have yet to experiment.

“Using citrus-flavoured hops – namely Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops – we are hoping that drinkers will love the fuller flavours and it will be their first step into experimenting with beers from the hundreds of other breweries in the UK.”

Bartels, who studied brewing at Heriot-Watt University, said: The best part of this project for me has been having the freedom to create our own beers from scratch. The recipe development process involved lots of re-working, tweaking and experimenting to get the beers just right. We really wanted to bring this to life on the packaging which is why you’ll see our recipe notes on the design.”

Sam Fielding, who heads up the new beer team at Heineken, said: We love beer – we have been innovating and brewing great beer for the last 130 years. And right now, beer is on everyone’s lips. People are talking, debating, experimenting and getting excited about new beers. But the fact is, 75% of beer drinking consumers, have never tried what is commonly referred to as ‘craft beer’.

“We can have a positive impact on this sector of the market. We have the capabilities to educate and support retailers with their offering. This is about getting curious beer drinkers into the category and expanding their repertoire with more flavoursome beers – which will be a springboard for them to discover beers from the 1,500 breweries in the UK. This is about supporting our customers and growing the category for the entire industry.”

He added: “It is fantastic to see how drinkers are re-engaging with the beer category. It feels like there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of this desire and interest in unusual beers.” 

The new beers will sit within the part of the Heineken business that looks after the Caledonian beer portfolio, as well as Monteiths beers from New Zealand and Lagunitas. 

Heineken said the company will use social media to help build the new brand’s reputation, particularly in terms of education about beer styles and the brewers themselves. “We will be very active in that space as we want people to connect with the brewers and understand the beers,” explained Fielding. “I think there are a number of very successful beers out there that don’t play on their provenance.”