Monday, 21 January 2008

Young's Kick out Stella

Seems that Young's are de-listing Stella Artois, commonly referred to as "Wifebeater", from its tied pub estate, replacing it with "genuine premium imported" brands such as Heineken, Amstel and Pilsner Urquell.

With the possible exception of PU, the replacements are dull, but more interesting is the trend. Does this mean more pub companies and breweries will follow and offer decent lagers from abroad instead of grim Stella, Kronenbourg, Carslberg et al? British brewed lager is in serious trouble with declining sales and withered appeal. To counter this, imports may be seen as the answer. Will the temptation just be to replace failed brands with imported rubbish instead of domestic brewed rubbish?

Given the record of Britain's brewers and pub owning companies, I'll give you three guesses!


Chela said...

As a Spanyard who have lived in Edinburgh for the last five years, I've never understood that trend on eurolagers.When I arrived here, I was really shocked watching people drinking Spanish San Miguel-Probably one of the tasteless lagers in my country and I think in Europe, or even worst,Heineken-not mentioning other low quality lagers from outside Europe such as Tiger or Miller.
I am a drinker of ale, preferable on cask version, but from time to time I fancy to down some lagers.Here in Scotland we can drink our pints of Tennent's without being so much "interferred" by those horrible euro rubbish you are commenting on.
The problem is that when I have to spend some weeks working along the rest of the UK it's hard for me to find a pub in which I can enjoy a pint of, for example, Carling - domestic brewed rubbish though domestic at last.
So I strongly believe we should support the UK lager industry a bit before it is too late.

A couple of questions:
Back in 1997, when I first visited britain, I spent a term in London and I could taste a good brit lager. It's called Freedom pilsener. Is the brewery still working? Do you know if is possible to find it on tap outside London?

Many thanks in advance and sorry for the long comment

Boak said...

Pretty exciting if we can get PU on tap, whatever the motivations.

Chela - you can get freedom pilsner in bottles but I don't know about it on tap. The brew pub in London is still going but I'm told that the pilsener in bottles is made elsewhere. See their site for more.

Organic shops are often the best place to find it.

Chela said...

Thank you Boak for the piece of info... I'm going to check the webpage an the veggie organic whatever Shop I got on the corner of my street. Cheers

Rednev said...

Bottled Budweiser Budvar and Pilsener Urquell are okay, but even supposedly good lagers such as these have a quality to the taste that I don't like. I have yet to find a beer style that I like as much as British real ale, although I do enjoy some Belgian beers.

Regardless of my own personal preferences, I have never been able to understand why rubbish fake lagers ever became so popular in the first place, seeing that they are the turkey twizzlers of the alcohol world.

Tandleman said...


I think you misunderstand the point of my post. I think it is too late in the day to persuade British Brewers and those that brew in Britain to produce mainstream decent lagers. They haven't done in the past and seen incapable of even thinking about how they might do it now. Instead they rather think that they can fool the British public with crap Euro lagers, hoping no-one will notice, which for a bit they might not. If the imports are poor beers sold at a premium price, this no hope downward spiral will continue.

The UK lager industry is being found out. They need to wake up and find the right solution which is to offer quality.

Alex said...

I think you are absolutely right about this. The British lager market is in decline-the bubble has finally has burst and the pubcos don't know what to do about it. Stella has run its course and overpriced itself. Hence Youngs feel able to replace it with something that actually costs less and can be promoted as "continental" ie exotic.

Personally I shall shed no tears-there is no such thing as a British lager industry to me. Although it is mainly replacing homemade shite with slightly less shite foreign beer, the hope has to be that it may lead to some decent stuff eventually appearing. I can certainly see a market for German products for example.

Andy Holmes said...

Most of the good German beer is produced by breweries far too small to be of interest to our pubcos. The big German brewers are better than most of the rest in Europe yes, but only to a point. The real quality is in Franconia but most of these brewers aren't even interested in "exporting" as far as Munich let alone the UK!

Tandleman said...

Andy. This is true, though not the point. There are big enough breweries in Germany that could supply quality lager, but they are not being asked to.

You are right about Franken, though as I said it is a different kettle of hops.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

let lager die, get those ugly fonts ripped out of the 200 year old bars in those beutifull pubs, rip out those hideous Guinness ones while you are about it.