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England football fans warned about German beer strength

Football fans heading to Germany for the Euro 2024 Championship have been officially warned by the government about the strength of German beer.

The news was released as part of the travel guidance to the country by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as the UK expects as many as 800,000 British football fans to travel to Germany in June.

At present, it expects 500,000 fans from the UK to attend, but the figure could rise. Currently, Scotland and England have qualified for the tournament with Wales due to take on Finland in Cardiff through a play-off semi-final on 21 March.

Scotland’s first game is in Munich on 14 June against the hosts Germany with England playing a few days later in Gelsenkirchen against Serbia.

Due to the large volume of fans, the FCO issued a warning to fans to not get caught out by the strong ABV of some German beers, and risk subsequently being banned from games from drunkenness. The average strength of lager and ale in the UK is around 4.4% ABV, according to Drinkaware, but beers in Germany are often 4.7% to 5.4% with many having considerably stronger ABVs, up to 16%.

The guidance said: “Beer can be stronger than in the UK, so drink responsibly, know your limits and respect local laws.”

“You may not be let into the stadium if you drink too much.”


The news comes as duty rate changes have putted downward pressure on the ABV of UK beer, further extending the disparity between British beers and those served on the European continent.

Most recently Heineken reduced the ABV on one of the UK’s most popular keg ales, John Smith’s Extra Smooth, bringing it down from 3.6% to 3.4% ABV, moving it into the weaker beer category and slashing the rates of taxation as a result.

Carlsberg has also reduced its flagship lager from 3.8 to 3.4%, and other brands, including another Heineken beer, Foster’s, as well as Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen, and Shepherd Neame’s Bishop Finger and Spitfire, all reducing their ABV recently.

Foster’s has reduced from 4 to 3.7% ABV, Old Speckled Hen had reduced from 5 to 4.8%, Bishops Finger from 5.4% to 5.2%,and Spitfire was reduced from 4.5% to 4.2%, meaning most of the big selling beer brands in the UK are now 1-2% ABV less than continental equivalents.

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