I’ve always been a little puzzled by beers where the bottled version is stronger than the draught. Fuller’s London Pride, Deuchars IPA, Wells Bombardier and “Morland” Old Speckled Hen all fall into this category. Now Marston’s Pedigree is joining the club with the ABV of the bottled version being increased from 4.5% to 5%. The draught and, oddly, cans will remain at 4.5%.
I suppose the answer is that 5% ales don’t tend to sell all that well in pubs, as they are perceived as too heavy and not sessionable enough, whereas in the Premium Bottled Ales market buyers tend to go for the stronger beers, a category in which Marston’s have so far lacked a “heavy hitter” to compete with the likes of Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale and Tanglefoot.
It’s rare to see the strength of a popular beer being increased, though – I wonder if our friends at Alcohol Concern will have a moan about it.