Flying the standard for lower alcohol

16 November, 2007

Standard lager is continuing its fight back against premium lager - it grew sales by 2.3 per cent while premium lager sales fell by 0.2.

Standard - which means 3.3-4.2 per cent abv, according to Nielsen - is now worth £1.1 billion, compared to £1.5 billion for premium. It has a 39.1 per cent share of the lager market, up from 38.5 per cent last year.

Brewers have recognised standard lager's popularity and have launched more sessionable beers such as InBev UK's Beck's Vier, which grew 237 per cent over the year and only just missed the top 50 beers. A 4 per cent version of Grolsch is also in the pipeline.

Of the top 10 lager brands, six are premium - but four of those (Stella Artois, Budweiser, Kronenbourg 1664 and Grolsch) saw sales drop in the past year, while three of the four standard lagers grew sales - Foster's, Carlsberg and Tennent's.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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