>>consumers and buyers give their views on the latest launches

8.6 RED
From: Bavaria

Aimed at bringing the speciality beer sector into the “21st century”, Dutch brewer Bavaria has launched 8.6 Red to appeal to trendy drinkers.
The name comes from the 7.9% abv beer’s apparent red colour.

Price: £1.39 for a 330ml bottle and £1.49 for a 500ml can

Total score: 27/50
consumer’s verdict
Dave Neville, 42, maintenance manager, reigate, surrey
I decided to try 8.6 Red with my mate on New Year’s Eve. Our first impression was that the can looked like a supermarket own brand, which is something we would steer away from buying.
We did not have the bottled version but thought a silver aluminium bottle would seem more like a vodka-based drink than beer.
We are both lager drinkers, particularly Stella but we do also drink bottled Kronenbourg and some Belgian lagers. The taste was a bit heavy for our liking.
It was not clear from the label what 8.6 Red was, so some more information on the label would help. I am brand conscious and go with what the label says. If it had been made by a big brand it may have tempted me more.
Score: 10/25
buyer’s verdict
David smith, beer buyer, booths
We’ve already seen Red Stripe, Red Bull and now 8.6 Red. I like Red Stripe, I drink Red Bull but I will need some more convincing with 8.6 Red if my first experience is anything to go by.
On first impressions, the packaging is visually appealing but is likely to conjure up mixed messages to the consumer.
Is the ABV 8.6% or 7.9%?
Some people are also likely to ask whether it is lager or bitter.
8.6 Red is aimed at drinkers of high alcoholic beers, attracting those people who want a cheap alternative to extra strong lagers.
This beer has a smooth flavour but like most high strength beers and lagers has a very sweet taste, which ultimately gives the product a limited appeal.
Score: 17/25