London-based drinks company, Layman Brands, has announced the launch of Eight Ball, a bottled lager with an ABV of eight per cent.
Heralded as the world's first "premium super" lager, Eight Ball hopes to combine the quality of premium bottled lagers such as Budweiser and Stella Artois with the potency of super-strength category brands like Carlsberg Special Brew and Tennent's Super.
Layman's Brands director, Mike Sweetman, said: "Virtually all the bottled lagers on the market have the same strength of around five per cent.
This worked when draught lager had a lower alcohol content, but now that a pint contains the same amount of alcohol there seem little reason to buy the bottled version.
"Customers are realising that bottles are no longer good value for money compared to pints in terms of alcohol content.
"A couple of pints of draught also makes you feel bloated," added Sweetman. "With the lack of fizz in Eight Ball, you get the quality of a bottled lager and it's not as hard work as a pint of five per cent lager."
Brewed by Britain's oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, Eight Ball is made using rice, sugar cane and a high calibre two-row malt that Sweetman claims prevents hangovers.
"It's not something that we had planned, but there has been a lot of people in our focus groups who have commented on its easy morning-after effect," he said.
It is hoped the launch of Eight Ball, aimed predominantly at males aged 18 to 25 who go to young person's venues and party pubs, will buck the trend in a declining on-trade bottled lager market.
High-strength products have failed to make much impact in the on-trade. Carslberg-Tetley relaunched Special Brew earlier this year as the "Beer of the Gods" without conspicuous success. Matthew Clark's Diamond White cider retains a following, but the company reduced the ABV of its bottled cider brand from eight to six per cent this year.