August 2012 – I went on a trip to France recently and was out shopping for some snax and a cheeky beer to drink in the hotel room to save me breaking into the mini bar. In a nearby shop I soon found a well-stocked fridge with the cans of beer in nice neat rows; among them were Stella Artois. Guess what?
I checked the abv on the tin. Yep, it was 5%! (unlike 4.8% as it is the UK) and I smelled a rat. Reading the link above will make things clearer.
February 2013 -Stella Artois once had a reputation in the UK for being a premium lager that was never a lunch time session beer. Let’s face it – you would never ask for Stella shandy. Weighing in at 5.2% not too long ago, Stella Artois now has had its strength sapped just like Sampson had his short back and sides. The one wielding the scissors was no Delilah, but it was a business enterprise seeking pure profit.
The first excuse Anheuser Busch/Interbrew gave for the drop to 5.0% in Stella’s strength was to harmonize the alcohol content of the product and packaging in the EU. Since then British sold Stella Artois had now been chopped further to 4.8% by its producer. This followed changes made in the alcohol duty levels by the well-loved Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne. Anheuser Busch/Interbrew has saved huge amounts from its tax bill as a result, and we are talking big money here.
The excuse for the first cut in the abv of Stella Artois sounds a very hollow one now. What really gets my goat is that the drop overall drop from 5.2% to 4.8% abv has been put in place quite insidiously whilst the punters that drink Stella Artois are totally unaware that they are being totally ‘mugged off’.
It is all wrong.