InBev has dismissed speculation that is has lined up a high strength brand extension for its Stella Artois beer in the UK.

Reports earlier this week claimed that InBev UK is lining up the launch of 'Stella Black', with an abv of 5.5%, in the UK early next year. Citing unnamed sources, Marketing Week magazine claimed yesterday (16 October) that Stella Black would be made available exclusively at top premium outlets and aimed at "opinion formers".

When contacted by just-drinks, however, a spokesperson for InBev UK moved to deny "categorically" that any such launch was in the pipeline.

"InBev UK is constantly looking at a number of product innovations," the spokesperson said. "However, InBev UK categorically denies it is launching any variants of Stella Artois at a higher abv than currently available."

In August, InBev launched Stella Artois 4% in the UK off-trade. The weaker strength addition - the traditional Stella Artois carries an abv of 5% in the on- and off-trade in the UK - will hit the on-trade, with its own font, from next month.