Hyster lift trucks for beverage operations

8th November 2019

Heineken is one of the world’s best-known brands, with a long and proud history and heritage as an independent global brewer. Hyster® lift trucks are in use within many of the 70 Heineken sites around the world, including Italy, France, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, Cork in Southern Ireland, and also Ghana, Nigeria and Egypt.

Heineken Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heineken International whose portfolio of brands includes Heineken, the best-selling beer in Ireland, Murphy’s, Amstel and Coors Light. The company’s site in Cork, Ireland was founded in 1856 and now employs 485 people, shipping 2 million kegs per year to pubs, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The reliability and efficiency of its distribution chain are of the utmost importance.

Innovation and Operation

The brewery’s yard operations are intense, loading and unloading on average 20 lorries each day. To overcome specific challenges, the Hyster Special Truck Engineering Department developed a Hyster® J3.5XN Electric Truck with a raised operator compartment for improved vision, featuring side battery extraction.

The raised cab design provides excellent all-round and upward visibility. With a tall load, the operator in a standard truck could not see past the load and had to work in reverse with limited visibility and considerable discomfort over long periods.

Designed for Productivity

Hyster® lift trucks operate in tight spaces with up to six trucks working continually over two shifts between 7am and 7pm. A specialised clamp attachment was provided which enables efficient lifting of non-palletised kegs of multiple sizes and quantities without changing attachments – critical to the operation when lifting either 18 x 50L kegs or 24 x 30L kegs at a time.

Six Hyster® J3.5XN electric trucks are in operation at the Cork site with a specially designed raised operator compartment and side battery extraction, Kaup Keg clamps, Blue Pedestrian Awareness Lights (PAL) front and rear, red side PAL’s, mud flaps to protect the attachment from road debris, reverse camera, auto park brake, cab heater, UV protection overhead guard glass, high backed suspension seat and mini levers.

Two Hyster® H2.5FT LPG forklift trucks and one Hyster® R1.4 Reach Truck are also used within the goods in area.

Efficiency and Reliability

The reliability of the Hyster® lift trucks is essential to keep the operation flowing. Empty kegs arrive every day and have to be unloaded and placed on a conveyor to take them to the production area. At the same time, full kegs are collected and stacked in the storage area ready for despatch.

Maintenance and daily check downtime is minimal and the batteries are charged at the end of the shift ensuring greatest uptime during busy periods, maximising efficiency.

Briggs Equipment, the exclusive Hyster® distributor for Ireland, is located close to the Heineken brewery and provides a full-service contract which includes a total battery management service, removing the need for drivers to be involved in any battery maintenance

Environmental and Sustainability Impact

As the site is based in the centre of the town, Hyster® electric trucks are better for the environment with noise no longer an issue, allowing the site to run longer shifts at night if required to increase production. This also benefits operators and site staff in their working environment.

By switching from diesel to electric lift trucks, Heineken has reduced its site Co2 emissions by 112 tonnes per year.


For Heineken, the combination of good training aligned to the Heineken standard, and the Hyster® trucks have contributed to very high levels of operator productivity. Hyster Tracker is the fleet reporting tool installed to monitor truck utilisation and battery life. This ensures optimum management of the fleet to reduce costs.

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