Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has said it is aiming to meet the growing demands of consumers who want to moderate their drinking, by reducing the ABV in some of its mid and low-strength beers.
Carlton Mid, Cascade Premium Light and VB Gold, will all see their ABV reduced, although the brewer has said it has no plans to alter the strength of its mid-strength juggernaut Great Northern.
A CUB spokesperson said the decision was made to go ahead with the lower ABV beers when the brewers said they could make the change without impacting flavour.
“We have heard from consumers that for many low and mid-strength beer drinkers the alcohol content is less important than the flavour of the beer and its value. Our brewers are now able to reduce the alcohol by volume of these beers without compromising flavour, while continuing to offer consumers good value for money.”
The reduction of the ABV will mean the brewer can negate the impact of the CPI increase on beer and keep offering these popular products at a value price-point.
The changes will see Carlton Mid go from 3.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent, Cascade Premium Light will reduce from 2.6 per cent to 2.4 per cent and VB Gold will go from 3.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent.
According to the Australian Liquor Stores Association and IRI 2017 State of the Industry Report, mid-strength beer has been a key contributor to the growth of the overall beer category. Mid-strength beer accounted for 16 per cent of dollar growth for the beer category and is also a primary driver of the volume in the category.
The CUB spokesperson added: “Consumer trends have been shifting towards accessing products with lower alcohol by volume, which are provided by the low and mid-strength beer range.”
CUB has previously had some issues with lowering the ABV of its beers, most famously when it reduced the strength of its iconic Victoria Bitter, but with the brewer saying mid-strength consumers are more focused on flavour rather than strength, it will be hopeful of avoiding a similar consumer backlash that it experienced with VB, where it back-tracked and reverted to the old recipe.