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.