James Wilmore

Carlsberg catches up on low-strength lager trend

By: James Wilmore - 14 February 2013 17:38

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Carlsberg has today revealed its hand in the battle over low-abv beers in the UK. 

The Danish brewer's first new launch into the 2.8% and below category is a citrus version of its namesake lager called, imaginatively, Carlsberg Citrus. I guess it does what it say on the tin. (Incidentally, the brewer lowered the abv of its Skol brand to 2.8% in 2011, but Citrus is its first new launch in the category).  

This trend in the UK towards new low-strength beers, Molson Coors has Carling Zest (2.8%), A-B InBev has Rolling Rock (2.8%), is for three main reasons.

Partly to offer health-conscious consumers more choice. 

Partly to fulfil a pledge to remove a a billion units of alcohol from products per year by December 2015, as part of the government's responsibility deal. 

But also, and perhaps as tellingly, it makes business sense. The goverment cut duty rates on beers at 2.8% and below back in 2011, as a way to "tackle problem drinking by encouraging industry to produce, and drinkers to consume, lower-strength beers". 

Carlsberg points to Nielsen figures in its press blurb today showing that the lower- strength beer category is growing 50% year-on-year. 

A government policy that's boosting profits and helping public health? Well fancy that.  

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