UK: Carlsberg Joins Other Breweries to Lower Alcohol Content

Carlsberg has joined other breweries in the UK in reducing the alcohol content of its pilsner beer in order to benefit from lower tax rates for weaker alcoholic beverages. This move follows similar actions taken by lager and ale brands like Foster's, Bishops Finger, Old Speckled Hen, and Spitfire. (inside, 19.6.2023)

The Copenhagen-based brewer that runs a joint venture beer company in the UK named Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Companyis specifically reducing the strength of its Carlsberg Danish Pilsner from 3.8% ABV to 3.4% ABV, resulting in a reduction of 0.4% ABV. Comparatively, other brands like Foster's have decreased their alcohol content by only 0.3% or even less.

Lowering the beer's strength below 3.5% ABV will allow Carlsberg to benefit from a new, lower tax rate for weaker beverages when changes to alcohol duty rates come into effect in August. Currently, all beers with a strength above 2.6% pay a standard rate. However, the upcoming change means that beers with a strength of 3.4% or lower will be subject to a rate of GBP 9.27 per litre of alcohol, while beers between 3.5% and 8.5% will be taxed at GBP 21.01.

A spokesperson for the brewer stated, "In accordance with the Government's Alcohol Duty Reforms and as intended by policy makers, reducing the ABV of Carlsberg Danish Pilsner allows us to invest in innovation and expand our range of beloved lagers and ales, all while supporting public health by removing 56 million units of alcohol from the UK market each year."

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