Global brewery giant AB InBev have announced that they are to cut the alcoholic strength of their three main brands from 5% to 4.8%. This reduction of Becks, Budweiser, and Stella Artois may mean little to the likes of you or me, but can be seen as indicative of current drink trends.
Certainly that is the official AB stance; that it is merely reacting to current UK trends and that “most drinkers won’t bat an eyelid as long as the 4.8% brews deliver on taste”. Quite possibly, but there is another explanation. According to industry sources, AB were pushing for yet another price rise-something the big retailers weren’t happy with. This left AB little choice: if its margins were to be maintained, then ABV had to be cut.
Of course, ABVs have been quietly coming down across the board for some time now. Stella itself was once 5.2%-it still is abroad-and I’m sure the estimated duty saving of £8.6m on its new lower strength version will put a smile on some AB executive’s face.
ABInBev: Rolling Rock 2.8%
Becks Blue, 0.05%
Carlsberg UK: SKOL 2.8%
Molson Coors UK: C2 2%
Adnams Brewery: Sole Star 2.7%
Brentwood Brewing BBC2 2.5%
Brodie’s Brewery Summer Stout 2.8%
Everards Brewery: Southgate 2.7%
Greene King Tolly English Ale 2.8%
Guinness: Mid Strength 2.8%
Harvey’s Brewery: Sweet Sussex Stout 2.8%
Harvey’s Bloomsbury Brown 2.8%
Hop Back Heracles 2.8%
J W Lees Brewery: Hero 2.8%
Marston’s Brewery: Marston’s Pale Ale, 2.8%
Marston’s Alcoholic Ale Shandy 2.8%ABV
Mann’s Brown Ale (Marston’s) 2.8%ABV
S A Brains Brewery: Founders Brew, 2.8%
Welton’s Brewery Pride & Joy 2.8%
I can’t say I’ve tried any of these and look forward to sampling them. But judging by my experiences so far with very low alcohol beers, I don’t hold out much hope. However, the way things are going, it may not be too long before you are popping into your local and asking for “A pint of pisswater, please.”