British drinkers have reacted with fury after discovering Stella Artois has cut its alcohol percentage.
The “reassuringly expensive” Belgian lager has had the amount of alcohol reduced from 4.8% to 4.6%.
Budweiser Brewing Group announced the change last October – but UK drinkers are only now starting to notice.
Bosses said the alcohol reduction was down to “wellness trends” – but furious Brits have slammed the move.
One drinker posted on Tesco’s website: “I cracked open a can of Stella 4.6 per cent and thought I had Covid, since I could not taste anything.”
Another added: “A once great beer of the geezers. Now watered down to 4.6 per cent.”
When it was first launched in the UK the beer was 5.1%. But it suffered an image problem over claims that “lager louts” became more violent after drinking Stella.
Dorien Nijs, brewmaster at Stella’s brewery in Leuven, Belgium, defended the percentage change.
She said: “We know that taste and quality remain the number one priority for Stella Artois drinkers. We also recognise a health and wellness trend through moderation.
“We are proud that we can now deliver the same Stella Artois taste people love, with an ABV of 4.6 per cent.”
Stella said the change was in line with its commitment to responsible drinking.
The 4.6% ABV bracket is the fastest-growing sector in the UK, more than doubling in size over two years.