Last call for Heineken's red star as Hungary seeks to ban logo

James Somper
Carlsberg, Heineken Under Investigation
Heineken's red star is facing the axe (Source: Getty)

An icon in bars across the world, the Heineken red star logo may be facing its last call.

The five pointed star, which has been part of the Dutch beers logo since the 19th century, was also the symbol of the brutal Communist dictatorship that ruled Hungary up until the 1990s.

In the latest of a series of punitive measures against foreign business in the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has unveiled a policy calling for the banning of “symbols of tyranny” from the countries traumatic past, including the hammer and sickle, the swastika and now the red star.

Under the new law which was put to the Hungarian Parliament on Monday, businesses using these symbols could be fined up to 2 bn forints (£5.64 m/ $6.97 m) and staff given possible jail sentences.

Last week Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjensaid that the red star in Heineken's logo was “obvious political content”.

At the end of the Second World War, Heineken changed its star logo from red to white before it reverted back to red again in the 1990s.

A Heineken spokesperson said: "The star has been on the label since the early days of the Heineken brand. The star is an ancient brewer’s symbol from the Middle Ages. The points of the star stood for the four natural ingredients and the fifth point for the unknown magic of brewing - the passion and craftsmanship of our brewers. Naturally, our star has no political connotation.

"We will closely monitor this matter and we have every confidence in a good outcome."

Related articles