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Carlsberg to water down Special Brew?

Super-strength beer Special Brew could have its abv slashed following a pledge by Carlsberg to withdraw any single-serve cans containing more than four units of alcohol.

Carlsberg’s super-strength Special Brew could be watered down under the UK’s Responsibility Deal

The super-strength beer, first brewed in 1950 in honour of Winston Churchill, has an abv of 9% and is available in 500ml cans, which places it at odds with the requirements of the Responsibility Deal Pledge, an initiative spearheaded by The Portman Group and backed by Public Health England.

Carlsberg signed up to the pledge in early December 2014. It means the brewer will have to stop selling any carbonated product containing more than four units of alcohol in a single-serve can as part of a crackdown on crime and anti-social behaviour.

Supermarkets including Asda, the Co-operative Group, Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco have already signed up to the government-backed pledge, with Carlsberg only the second supplier to sign up after AB InBev.

Options for Special Brew, and Carlsberg’s other super-strength lager Skol Super, include reformulating both to carry a weaker abv or changing the size of their serves.

Bruce Ray, corporate affairs director at Carlsberg UK, said: “It is clearly down to individual consumers how they drink our products, but to help create this responsible drinking environment, we will be reviewing our portfolio and withdrawing any single-serve cans containing over four units of alcohol from sale during 2015.

“This is obviously complex given our extensive supply-chain, but we are committed to continue working with all of our customers on how to best implement this and we look forward to seeing the continuing positive impact of the packaging pledge.”

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