These types of stories are popping up with increased frequency throughout the western world. Products are simply declining in quality, and in many cases these declines are being accompanied by price increases. Remember my article from a week ago Inflation Hits Coffee as Brewers Secretly Swap Robusta for Arabica. This is more or less the same story, except this time in the UK and centered around beer. From CNBC:
Britain’s favorite pint of bitter is being watered down as austerity continues to bite and taxes rise.
John Smith’s Extra Smooth, billed as “no nonsense beer”, is being reduced from 3.8 percent alcohol to 3.6 percent in response to rising costs and reduced beer consumption.
Heineken, which is also raising the cost of the famous bitter by about 2.5 pence a pint, said it was bringing John Smith’s “in line with competitor smooth ales that already sit at or below this alcoholic strength”, including its biggest rival, Carlsberg’s Tetley Smoothflow.
Now here is my favorite line:
“Extensive research conducted with retailers and consumers consistently confirmed that a 0.2 percent reduction in [alcohol content] does not compromise on the taste and quality,” a Heineken U.K. spokesman said.