Heineken is reducing the ABV of its packaged Strongbow from 5.3% to 5% this month.
Announcing the official launch of a pear cider Strongbow at just 4.8% abv, Heineken said lowering the alcohol content for the main brand was right for the consumer, right for the brand and right for Heineken’s industry CSR commitments.
The cider category was being driven by younger “tribal drinkers” and 90% of these chose drinks which ranged between 4% and 5% abv, said marketing manager Michael Gillane.
More than 5% abc was “beyond the threshold level for many of these drinkers who want to stay in control”, he claimed.
“If your sole reason for buying Strongbow is because it’s stronger than other brands, we’re not sure we want you in the family,” Gillane said.
Last year Heineken pledged to reduce the abv of one of its leading brands as part of its commitment to the government’s so-called Responsibility Deal, but refused to name the brand. Gillane told The Grocer that this was because the drink was still in development at the time.
In January, lager brands Stella Artois, Budweiser, Beck’s, Carlsberg Export and Cobra dropped from 5% to 4.8% abv in a move many industry insiders interpreted as a way of reducing duty costs.