Being one of the most popular, longstanding premium lagers found on supermarket shelves and pub pumps across the UK, Stella Artois must have been doing something right over the years to keep people sloshing their lager down their necks on a regular basis. But now the Belgian beer giants have incurred the wrath of beer drinkers by making a quite significant change to their product.
The canned, draft and gluten free versions of Stella have seen their ABV lowered to 4.6 percent, a move which has been branded ‘scandalous’ by some outraged customers.
Previously, Stella had lowered it’s ABV from 5.2 percent to five, before dropping it further, to 4.8, in 2007.
The fall to 4.6 actually occurred in October of last year, but just now seems to have been picked up on, with one particularly disgruntled customer leaving a one star review after purchasing a pack of 18 from Tesco.
Writing on the supermarket’s official website, the outraged customer wrote, “It was disappointing when they reduced it from 5.2% to 5%, then down to 4.8%. Was truly surprised to find they’ve now reduced it down to 4.6%. Tasteless, even compared to some supermarket brands. Would never have ordered these if I knew they were so watered down.”
Another person followed up with a similar review, on 20th January: “Used to be my favourite drink and since it’s been reduced to 4.6% it tastes like water. Please change it back.”
The theme continued, with a third reviewer saying, “Can’t believe it is down to 4.6% which is a real joke for a ‘premium’ lager! If you are in store then check the packs as I know some are 4.8% which is slightly better, but still not great!”
Taking things a step further with their fury, another customer was scathing, labelling the move ‘scandalous’, “A once great beer of the geezers. Now watered down to 4.6 per cent. Won’t be buying this anymore, off to find another beer that is at least 5 per cent, or are the English not trusted with that anymore. First Becks, now Stella. Scandalous.”
The flurry of negative reviews has seen Stella’s rating on Tesco’s website drop to 1.5 stars. In response, Dorien Nijs, brew-master at the brand’s brewery in Leuven, Belgium, said, “Stella Artois still has the same full flavour and clean crisp taste, confirmed through rigorous testing by consumers, as well as internal and external beer experts across the world, including in Leuven, Belgium, the home of Stella Artois.
“Stella Artois in the UK will still be brewed using the original Stella Artois yeast and celebrated Saaz hops, in Magor, Wales and Samlesbury, Lancashire using British barley.
“We know that taste and quality remain the number one priority for Stella Artois drinkers, and we also recognise an ongoing health and wellness trend through moderation.
“We are proud that we can now deliver the same Stella Artois taste people know and love, with an ABV of 4.6%.”
Who knew that 0.2 percent could mean so much to people?