Our panel assess Stella's new lower-abv variant

Company: InBev
RSP: £3.29 for a four-pacl
Market size: larger worth £2.7bn
The competition: Beck's Vier, Carling, Carlsberg

The Consumer
Before it was tainted by the ‘wifebeater’ tag, Stella was the lager you wanted: reassuringly expensive, and it tasted pretty good. This, on the other hand, tasted awful. There are so many other beers doing lower abv well that I wonder why Stella is bothering. And though it looks classy, it was confusing. Initially I thought it was a can of Kaliber. If this is Stella’s attempt at premiumising the lower-abv lager market, I wish them luck. They’ll need it. Two stars (out of five)
Richard Burrows, engineer, London

The expert
At a time when there are so many negative headlines around binge drinking and unit consumption it makes absolute sense for a lower-in-alcohol Stella Artois to enter the market. The abv is clearly the key message for the SKU, as evidenced by the prominence given to ‘4%’ on the can. The lager is less than spectacular with a little citrus on the nose and the merest hints of hops and citrus on the palate, but as a commercial proposition it will do well. Three stars
Henry Moran, trading manager, Musgrave Retail Partners

The Grocer
The beer has a good hit of hops and malt on the first taste. However, the beer lacks structure and backbone, so these initial flavours quickly dwindle leaving a watery aftertaste. On a more positive note, InBev has done well with the new packaging, which is sleek and appealing while maintaining the distinctive Stella look. I imagine this will prove popular with UK drinkers who are used to bland lagers. Three stars
Robyn Lewis, food & drink editor