A new one-litre bottle of Stella Artois, launched by Interbrew UK, will also benefit from the lager brand's £25m (US$35m) marketing support package for 2001.

Designed from scratch, the new pack, according to Interbrew UK, reflects the mood of the eating occasion and along with the brand's premium positioning, will drive incremental sales by encouraging shoppers to buy for sharing with a meal.

Steve Kitching, take home sales director of Interbrew UK said: "There is a massive opportunity to link beer with food in the consumer's mind with a pack that is totally appropriate for shared meal occasions.

"We want to develop the right pack format for every occasion. It is significant that every new pack we have introduced for Stella Artois has increased sale of the brand," he added.

And according to AC Nielsen the "big bottle" segment of the take home market is already enjoying strong growth and accounts for around 10% of total bottle sales.

The one-litre Stella Artois bottle will be available to the take home market subject to listings from the end of July. It will be positioned at a premium to the existing range of packs - 250ml, 330ml and 660ml bottle - with a recommended retail price of £2.99