Beefeater changed AGAIN from 44% to 40% in late 2023
Quietly, once again the esteemed classic gin brand has lowered its ABV. New shipments of Beefeater that bar owners began receiving in late 2023 featured 40% ABV instead of the 2020 strength of 44%.
At my most hopeful, I’d love if this was only a limited market trial. Followed by a quick change back to the previous strength.
However, these quiet changes— changing the bottle size of the product inside without letting people know, especially bar teams with existing, standing orders— undermines my faith in the brand and the people who distribute it. Trust breaking moments like this can harm a brand long term.
I’m not sure that Beefeater’s reputation has recovered from even the 2020 change. This feels like the brand is willing to spend goodwill they might not still have. Brand sales will tell the story long term; however, in some parts of the cocktail community, some serious damage has been done.
Beefeater changed from 47% to 44% in 2020
It is true— in the United States Beefeater Gin has dialed down the ABV. Formerly Beefeater Gin was bottled at 94 proof or 47% ABV. It has been since turned down to 88 proof or 44% ABV. In either case, it is still higher ABV than in the U.K., for example where it is bottled at 40%.
The intention of the ABV change is to provide a more consistent brand experience globally for our consumers. Our Beefeater London Dry Gin at an ABV of 44% recently won a Gold medal at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2020.
— Beefeater Gin US (@BeefeaterGin_US) November 17, 2020
The recent change brings Beefeater’s flagship gin more in line with the other major gin brands at lower ABV’s; however, it does represent a shift for the esteemed brand who for a long time was a relatively “premium” offering at its price point. This combination of facets led to Beefeater Gin being a well pour of choice at high end cocktail bars. With the change in proof, it will be interesting to see if it maintains its lead in those spaces.
While there was no formal press announcement of the change, people across the states had begun to see the lower ABV Beefeater first begin appearing over the summer of 2020.