H/t to Tyson for pointing out the news that AB InBev are planning to cut the strength of Stella, Becks and Budweiser from 5% to 4.8% ABV. While this won’t affect me personally to any great extent, it’s yet another example of the growing trend to water down beer. It has the double advantage of saving duty and also gaining brownie points from the government and the anti-drink lobby. Given that 4.8% is the typical strength of German Pilseners, it’s not really taking Stella outside the category norm, either.
But surely they are being disingenuous when they say “The reduction might put a few punters off but the majority probably won't bat an eyelid as long as the 4.8 per cent brews deliver on taste.” Let’s face it, the main reason people buy 5% Stella rather than 4% Carling is not the taste, but the fact it has more alcohol content. There must come a point where customers start seeing through such moves and the brewers find they have suddenly destroyed their product’s cachet. And, over the years, InBev have been experts at eroding Stella’s brand equity.