Beverage Brands is reducing the alcoholic strength of its WKD ready-to-drink brand to make it more competitive.

The move will see the range’s spirit content drop from 5.5% to 5% abv with the duty saving being passed on to the trade rather than going back into the company, it promised.

Karen Salters, Beverage Brands’ marketing manager, said: “Over the past year WKD has grown well ahead of the category. We want to maintain that momentum and we believe that the reduction in abv will enable WKD to operate more effectively in what is a highly competitive marketplace.

“Passing the duty saving on to our trade customers will help WKD compete on a more level playing field in both RTDs and long drinks.”

She said Beverage Brands had invested £24m in marketing the brand during 2003.

Rivals Diageo and Bacardi-Martini cut the abvs of their brands earlier this year bringing Smirnoff Ice, Archers Aqua and Bacardi Breezer down to 5% abv.