The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.
Yes, I know it's called "The Netherlands" now, but all the breweries still put "Holland" on their packaging, so I decided I should humor the natives.
Breweries listed on this page are assumed to have one-year shelf lives (unless demonstrated otherwise by an authoratative source).
The Dutch Beerpages have further information on beer in Holland, if you can read Dutch.
I'm pretty damn sure that Amstel is a subsidiary of Heineken, because they use the same manufacturer number, the same bottles, the same dating scheme, and even the same small print on the bottom of their cartons. A beer salesman I knew even called the stuff "Heineken Light". Go read the Heineken entry.
I don't really know why Heineken goes to such elaborate lengths to disassociate itself from Amstel; maybe they just don't want to admit they brew a light beer.
As of January 1997, Grolsche (known to Americans as "the other brewery in Holland") was not putting dates on their bottles. There are some numbers dot-matrixed on Grolsche boxes that could include a date, but they're always too blurry to make out. Go figure.
Grolsche's manufacturer number is 83741.
Heineken (including Buckler ®, Heineken, and Amstel Light) have a four-digit YDDD bottling date at the bottom of the back label. Cans have the same code as the first four digits of a longer production code. Cartons have the number buried in the middle of a very long production code. For example:
IPE 0089J 53366050729 UTVNMACTDEIAORMEMI
is an old code from 1995. (Beer that old is past date anyway. I'm just showing off.) A newer 1996 example is:
IPE 0089K 62496050207 10-STATES
In both of those codes, the first four digits of the third block of characters matched the bottling date of the bottles in the carton. Today would be [an error occurred while processing this directive].
Note that the fourth block of characters in each code won't appear on cartons shipped to states that don't have bottle deposits. The fourth block of the 1995 code is actually a list of all 10 states with deposit laws.
Heineken actually does try to get retailers to rotate. The inside flaps of every 4/6 carton of Heineken and Amstel Light have the following instructions printed on them:
FIRST IN-FIRST OUT
PLACE NEW STOCK BENEATH
Some cartons even have a bilingual warning, but I don't know what the language of the second warning is....
And finally, Heineken/Amstel's manufacturer number is 72890.
BeerDates.com is the independent consumer guide to beer product dating. It is not owned, operated, affiliated with, or endorsed by any brewery or brewing company. In other words, if you want to send e-mail to a beer company, don't send it to me. "Buckler" and "Heineken" are registered trademarks of Heineken Browerijen, B.V.http://beerdates.com/Holland.html © 1996.pl-2013 Michael Bauser