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Lion cuts ABV on three beers

February 23, 2016

XXXX Bitter, Tooheys Extra Dry and James Boag’s Premium Light will all have their ABV reduced under changes announced by Lion today.

Just days after announcing a three per cent decline in alcohol volume for FY15, Lion said the ABV reductions were necessary “to ensure costs remain sustainable and to reinvest savings into initiatives that will reinvigorate the total beer category”.

“We have tested our brands extensively to make sure they still deliver the same great flavour and quality they always have,” the company said.

The changes are as follows:

  • XXXX Bitter’s ABV will reduce from 4.6 to 4.4 (or 1.4 to 1.3 standard drinks) from March 2016;
  • Tooheys Extra Dry’s ABV will reduce from 4.6 to 4.4 (or 1.3 to 1.2 standard drinks) from April 2016; and
  • James Boag’s Premium Light’s ABV will reduce from 2.7 to 2.5 ABV (or 0.8 to 0.7 standard drinks) from May 2016.

Reductions in alcohol content have previously proven difficult for beer drinkers to swallow.

In 2009, Carlton & United Breweries reduced the alcohol content of VB to improve its profitability.

“The beer tastes exactly the same,” declared VB’s then marketing manager Paul Donaldson, in comments eerily similar to those of Lion today.

However drinkers clearly thought otherwise and CUB was eventually listened, restoring VB’s original 4.9 per cent strength three years later.

And in July last year, CUB reduced the ABV of Pure Blonde from 4.6 per cent to 4.2 per cent as part of an overhaul of that brand.

Comments posted on this article on Australian Brews News and this article on TheShout suggest that change has not won unanimous approval from Pure Blonde drinkers.

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9 Responses to Lion cuts ABV on three beers

  1. Bribie on February 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Lion have been trying to kill off XXXX heavy for years to concentrate on Tooheys New.
    They have blanded it down recently and will soon do what they did with XXXX Draught and discontinue it due to lack of sales.

  2. Outback Snack on January 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    This is why overseas beers are becoming so hugely popular.
    Me and my mates always drank XXXX bitter because we were proud Queenslanders and we liked the high content 40 years of drinking gone in one dumb ass decision. Pass me a carlsberg Jimmy?

  3. Gary on October 24, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I am disgusted in the poor treatment of loyal drinkers. I hope these bean counters are all hung drawn and quartered over this!
    Very unhappy xxxx drinker.

  4. Steve on September 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    If you want to kill off an icon, then keep meddling with the ingredients. Maybe Lion should listen to their beer makers (alcohol level equals flavour) instead of their bean counters. I’ve officially stopped drinking my home-town beer.

  5. M parker on April 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    If costs are reduced why has the price gone up even at dans
    Time to change
    Just found out reading lablel
    Not happy with xxxx

  6. Richard Houghton on February 23, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Three bland tasting beers will now be even more tasteless and the Accountants, once again, show little regard for their customers in preference to corporation profits.

  7. andrew danby on February 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Nothing wrong with reducing the ABV, obviously the product becomes cheaper too Lion? So customers win! What’s the new price point or are you really just maximising your profits?

    • Twitch84 on February 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      It will be to maximise profits. If they drop their prices, they will “devalue” their brands.
      C’mon people, start drinking Cooper’s.

    • Paul on February 26, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Nope not cheaper except for in quality just maximising profits.

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