Flying the standard for lower alcohol

Standard lager is continuing its fight back against premium lager - it grew sales by 2.3 per cent while premium lager sales fell by 0.2.

Standard - which means 3.3-4.2 per cent abv, according to Nielsen - is now worth £1.1 billion, compared to £1.5 billion for premium. It has a 39.1 per cent share of the lager market, up from 38.5 per cent last year.

Brewers have recognised standard lager's popularity and have launched more sessionable beers such as InBev UK's Beck's Vier, which grew 237 per cent over the year and only just missed the top 50 beers. A 4 per cent version of Grolsch is also in the pipeline.

Of the top 10 lager brands, six are premium - but four of those (Stella Artois, Budweiser, Kronenbourg 1664 and Grolsch) saw sales drop in the past year, while three of the four standard lagers grew sales - Foster's, Carlsberg and Tennent's.