On my most recent visit to Tesco I did a quick check on the shelves of the alcoholic strengths of the big-selling premium lager brands, with the following results:
- 4.8%: Stella, Carlsberg Export, Budweiser, Becks, Tesco Imported Premium Lager
- 5.0%: Holsten, Grolsch, Kronenbourg 1664, Heineken, San Miguel
Tesco have obviously brought their own-brand product down to the level of Stella because they feel they will gain little in sales by keeping it at the higher strength.
You have to wonder whether it’s only a matter of time before all of the popular brands are cut to 4.8% as part of the “responsibility deal”. That in itself may not seem the end of the world, but is it really going to stop there?
I can imagine Heineken in particular being rather resistant to that, as they promote their product as a standardised international brand and are keen to banish memories of the piss-weak “Cold Filtered” variant.
If that’s not strong enough, Tesco will sell you, for example, bottles of Baltika from Russia at 5.5% or Tyskie or Zywiec from Poland at 5.6%.