I'm not sure about other countries, but in the UK we have various brands of 'extra strong' lager beers, the most famous of which is Carlsberg Special Brew (9%), but there are others.

The perception a lot of people have is that these beers are favoured by Alcoholics and avoided by everyone else and that the brewers continue to produce the product regardless.

Is this actually the case, or is there another, more legitimate market out there for extra strong lager?


1 Answer 1


You’re absolutely right about the perception. It’s similar in the US for people who buy Steel Reserve and other malt liquors: they’re a cheap means to an end.

The reality, though, seems to be that a lot of people like the taste:

'Of course, the most common question I get asked is: 'Isn't it just winos who drink it?' ' admits Katie Rawll, Carlsberg's senior brand manager responsible for Special Brew. 'But our researches show that the underneath-the-arches brigade accounts for only 2 per cent of its overall drinkers. They're certainly not consuming the volume.'

From what I can tell, it’s a special occasion beer for the crowd that isn’t into good beer. They drink cheap lager year round, but if they want to reward themselves, celebrate an occasion, or make a party a bit more interesting, they’ll break out a strong lager. Much like breaking out a bottle of wine, but cheaper (and tastier if you don’t care for wine).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.