Retailers are ramping up their lower-alcohol beer offering following an uplift in category sales.

Since October, beers at 2.8% abv or below have been charged at 50% less tax than standard beer, prompting a number of launches.

Tesco is rolling out 11 2.8% abv beers on 30 January - the majority of which will be exclusive to it for the next six months. Tesco said the beers had been launched in response to a continued uplift in the no/low-alcohol beer category.

Take-home sales of the category have risen by 5% over the past year to £16.1m [Nielsen 52w/e 26 November 2011].

Last week, MPs including health minister Anne Milton raised a glass to lower-alcohol beers at a tasting organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Marston’s, which is launching its Pale Ale and Alcoholic Ale Shandy - both 2.8% abv - into Tesco, said the duty reduction had created a renewed opportunity for brewers. “There’s certainly a demand from consumers who want a bit of abv but who might be looking to lower their alcohol intake or who are on a low budget,” said Marston’s national sales and marketing director James Coyle.