InBev UK has countered an accusation by brewer and pub group Young's that its Stella Artois beer brand has lost its premium status.

In detailing changes to its beer offerings in the UK on-trade, Young's today (18 January) dropped Stella from its pubs, saying that the brand "wasn't premium enough". Instead of Stella, the company will offer lagers including Heineken, Amstel and Pilsner Urquell. "It (Stella) didn't really fit in with the rest of the portfolio," a spokesperson for Young's told just-drinks today.

When contacted today, a spokesperson for InBev in the UK warned that Young's may come to "regret" the decision.

"I think Young's are trying to generate some publicity for themselves on the back of commercial negotiations which didn't go their way," the spokesperson said. "Millions of consumers and thousands of customers would disagree with their view of the brand. We are still three times bigger than our nearest competitor, and a mark of a premium product is the number of people that are willing to pay more for that brand."

The spokesperson went on to describe the brands performance over the Christmas period in the UK off-trade as "fantastic".

"I think Young's will regret their decision in the long run because no other beer brand is investing so much money to make sure that Stella Artois remains the number one premium choice for consumers," the spokesperson concluded.