Twice in five years: Beefeater Gin is now 40% ABV

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 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.

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32 thoughts on “Twice in five years: Beefeater Gin is now 40% ABV”

  1. I’ve been drinking Beefeater for 40 years and started noticing a change in the flavor last fall and I’m not happy! It wasn’t until Christmas that I figured out they had lowered the ABV. It definitely changes the flavor profile. I couldn’t return the two cases i bought at that time so I guess they will gather dust as I search for a new go to brand.

  2. Found a couple 1.75 liters of 94 proof bottles at Walmart liquors in Florida last month January ‘21.Will save these in the back of my liquor cabinet for special occasions. Been drinking this stuff for 50 years. Bring back the good stuff!

  3. Beefeater has been one of the great London dry gins of all time— and has been one my of go-to’s for many years. Now I feel my loyalty to the brand has been betrayed by Pernod Richard watering down the proof of the sprit to a level that impacts the quality of the product. This is a real poke in the eye to your many millions of loyal customers.

    This reminds me of the trend in candy bars where the size shrinks while the price remains unchanged— a shameless and disgraceful grab for money, disrespecting and indeed insulting to your many, many loyal customers.


  4. I honestly don’t know if I could tell the difference since I mainly drink gin in a gin and tonic. However, I’m not sure it’s a good marketing move. I think I would have left it the way it was in America and maybe offered the 80 proof London version as an alternative.

  5. As a longtime gin lover, who’s often been disappointed by the ridiculously high ABV of brands like Junipero, I welcome this change. At age 68, I need to watch my alcohol consumption, but I also like to linger with a strong gin OTR. This works for me, but I can certainly understand how hardier – if not younger – souls may resent it.
    BTW, am I the only one who adds chopped licorice to my DOF glass and muddles it with gin before adding ice???

  6. The lower abv brings out very strong citrus votes gives me heartburn to drink this. What a big disappointment 94 to 88 beefeater gin has always been bold and strong at 94 I’ve went back and forth with the company asking for a replacement or refund and they really don’t give two craps about the costumer. I’m never drinking beefeater again till this screw up on whatever smart person decide to do this. Please bring back the old 94 it’s better

  7. Been drinking Beefeater for over 50 years and definitely noticed a taste difference. Not for the better, I might add. Will switch to Bombay Sapphire.

  8. I’m in the US, and I noticed the change back in February. I haven’t bought a bottle of Beefeater since.

    I buy Tanqueray (94 proof) more often now.

  9. Tanqueray at 94 proof is still inferior to Beefeater at 88 proof. However, I am very disappointed by Beefeater’s decision. If universal consistency is what Beefeater wanted, why didn’t it make all it’s gin the original 94 proof.
    I think this is an attempt to attract the non-martini generation; and it’s going to backfire.

  10. I too immediately noticed a flavor change- the floral, almost perfumey quality is gone. A sad loss to gin drinkers!

  11. Beefeater is doing shrink-flation. Look for more of that. It began in vodka, then rum, with the lowered proof flavored products. But now it is outright lowered heat and less quality.

    Just remember that Jack Daniels whiskey when it was savored by Sinatra was higher proof and better quality than it is today. The company recently released a Sinatra Select version which reprises the way it was made back in the days of the Ratpack. . . . The moral of this story is that once they begin cutting the proof, the brand declines. 8

    Liquor prices have very much been lagging prices of bread & breakfast cereal, as well as meat (livestock is fed grains). Chicago wheat futures are above $8/bu. this week. Check out a monthly chart to see how high that is. And the quality of wheat harvested in WA was horrible 2021 — they usually always reliable for good wheat. I.e., input costs have to be squeezing the distillers. Add to that labor costs, shortage of bottles, etc. . . . There are news articles months ago this year complaining about these inflationary problems, and it has only gotten worse since then.

    Don’t forget the high cost of fuel. The shortage of truck drivers. The shortage of truck parts. . . . Do they need to be shipping heavy bottles of alcohol or baby formula? Get ready for shipping rationing—Amazon is doomed.

    Look around and see all these craft distilleries. They are like cannabis shops littering the USA. Whenever there is a lot of suppliers it is axiomatic that bankruptcies are looming. How many weird gins can the market support anyway? If you read reviews written by Millennials most of them hate the taste of alcohol and cringe whenever a vodka tastes like vodka or a rum like rum. . . . The real market demand is for normal spirits not those favored by silly geese in San Francisco and Austin TX. . . . The liquor market is long over due for a Sodom & Gomorrah fire & brimstone moment. It screams to be cleansed.

    There are some insane sales right now in some of the state run liquor stores as they do their end of the year clearance. Since these are operated by bureaucrats they are not conscious of economic realities now unfolding in the world. Now maybe your last chance to stock up on your favorite brands.

  12. How about upping the C2H5OH content by adding an appropriate amount of Everclear @ 180 proof for proper effect? For courting purposes, candy is dandy but liquor is quicker!!

  13. Beefeater has been the celebratory cocktail for my family for over 50 years. When we all get together this is what we toast with. Something has happened to my gin.
    I have been asking bartenders to show me the bottle to make sure that I was indeed served Beefeater. It didn’t have that wonderful signature clean, steely knife-sharp hit.
    I told a friend that I only drink English 90+ proof gin and he informed me that Beefeater is 88. I told him no way. I love the brand and have had no need to check the bottle. Anyway, I am now trying other brands and have yet to find my old Beefeater profile.
    Why in the world did you find it necessary to make this change?
    H. Earl Evans

  14. It’s not the proof being lower that’s the issue, it’s the change in flavor!

    How come Tanq at 43% in Europe taste the same the same as the 47% version sold in America? Beefeater did something else besides besides the alcohol content, receipe is different. Cheaper ingredients?

    Beefeater used to be a 5 star gin, now it’s a 2 star at best.

  15. I just noticed this today. And as a longtime fan, and daily martini drinker, of Beefeater, I can tell you I am not at all happy with this. I bought some today and noticed afterwards that the ABV was 44%. Had I looked when I picked it up, I would NOT have bought it. Obviously, I did not think I had to check this. I am now searching for a new alternative. While I do like Bombay Sapphire, I am vigorously searching for a London dry alternative at 47% plus.
    Very disappointed with this direction.

  16. I have no idea what you’ve done to the taste of Beefeaters gin, but my husband & I have two full bottles that we could not drink and have poured them down the drain. We have been using it for years in our martinis and for some reason it has recently become undrinkable! We definitely are changing to a different brand of gin.

  17. I have been drinking beefeaters for 52 years. My first was on a air plain coming home from basic training in the military. I hate the inconsistency of the gin now. I will no longer buy it

  18. The taste is so different I have to double amount of olive juice I put in my dirty Martinis. Sales are so bad my local stores have quit carrying it. At least Coke listened to their customers when their screwy recipe changes ruined their reputation and they to do a 180 to recover.

  19. I have been buying beefeater gin for over 50 years I have never had a problem until today I bought this fresh bottle from the liquor store last week and opened it this week and it is bad or taste musty or on drinkable what do I do with it.

  20. Thomas, I don’t work for Beefeater and there is little I can directly do. Though I would suggest you complain to the company. I think it is worth sharing your opinion.

  21. This has the “New” Coca Cola mistake all over it.
    Coke also claimed that “tasters” preferred the new stuff. Wrong!
    Back-peddling to “Classic”, which soon overtook shelf space, and eventually they killed “New” and it is no more.
    Leave “94” as is, and introduce the English version as a “Lite” gin.
    Don’t take away my Gin. So, I’ll be going, still 94*, to Tanq!

  22. I have drank Beefeater for 40 years; no more.
    I’ll use Bombay Sapphire now, for martinis, and gin and tonics.

  23. Coupla weeks ago, I wanted to maybe find a gin I don’t normally have available (I’m in the industry — retail), so I walked into a liquor store I’ve visited once ever, I think.

    They had 47% Beefeater.


    Natch, I brought it home. It lives in my freezer until its end. Nice stuff. Heck, I just had a martini with it.*

    Oh wells. Moving on.


    ~ Orca7 in San Francisco

    *DRAI vermouth by Gotha, Bologna. Orange bitters by King Floyd’s, Novato CA.