InBev is dropping two members of its Artois beer portfolio in the UK.

The brewer's UK arm said yesterday (1 December) that it will phase out Eiken Artois and Peeterman Artois in the country, "in order to focus support and investment" on its flagship Stella Artois brand.

The availability of the two beers will come to an end in the on-trade by the end of the year and in the off-trade by April.

Eiken Artois was introduced in the UK in February, replacing Artois Bock. Peeterman Artois, meanwhile, was launched in July 2006, as part of InBev's Brasseries Artois concept, which brought Stella, Peeterman and Artois Bock together, backed by a GBP50m (US$87m) promotional investment.

In June this year, InBev added to its portfolio when it launched Stella Artois 4% in the off-trade. An on-trade roll-out of the brand began last month.

"Stella Artois 4% has already proved to be the most successful lager brand to be recently launched in the off-trade and it is complementing the established success of Stella Artois which is the most widely available draught lager in UK pubs and the third biggest grocery brand in the UK," said Stuart MacFarlane, president of InBev UK and Ireland.

"InBev UK is informing stockists of the decision and will continue to work with them to ensure that the InBev UK range of brands, including Stella Artois and Stella Artois 4%, reflects their consumer profile and commercial needs."

When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for InBev UK added: "The up-weighted support and marketing focus on Stella Artois and the recently launched Stella Artois 4% was always planned as the next stage in our long term strategy to innovate and underpin the development of the brand.

"The brasserie execution has helped cement our market leading heritage and quality consumer scores, and emphasised the brand strengths of Stella Artois."

Citing figures from AC Nielsen, the spokesperson also claimed that, in the eleven weeks to 1 November, Stella Artois 4% "is already bigger than Heineken and San Miguel in the off-trade".