Stella Artois

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Stella Artois
Stella Artois current logo 2015.png
Stella Artois chalice filled.jpg
Type Pilsner
Manufacturer Anheuser–Busch InBev
Country of origin Leuven, Belgium
Introduced 1926
Alcohol by volume 4.8 to 5.2%

Stella Artois /ˈstɛlə ɑːrˈtwɑː/, informally Stella, is a pilsner beer of between 4.8 and 5.2% ABV. It has been brewed in Leuven, Belgium since 1926, although it is also brewed in other locations. A lower alcohol content (4% ABV) version is also sold in Britain, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.[1] Stella Artois is one of the prominent brands of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer.


In 1708, Sébastien Artois became head brewer at the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, a brewery already established by 1366. Artois gave his name to it in 1717.[citation needed]

In 1926, the Artois brewery launched Stella as a festive beer, named after the Christmas star.[2] First sold in the winter season, it eventually became available all year round, and, apart from the Second World War, has been produced ever since. The first Stella Artois beer was exported to the European market in 1930.[citation needed].By 1960, about 100 million litres of Stella Artois were being produced annually. Whitbread began to brew it under contract in the United Kingdom from 1976.[3] InBev, the merger of Belgian Interbrew and Brazilian AmBev, opened a new, fully automated brewery in Leuven in 1993, and by 2006, total annual production volume exceeded a billion litres.

David Taylor, founder of Taylorbrands, created the current package design, bottle design, and shape in 1988. The original 1926 bottle label inspired the current design, which replaced a 1960s design. The design incorporates the horn symbol of the Den Hoorn brewery and the date 1366. The label also shows medals for excellence awarded to the brewery at a number of trade exhibitions in Belgium in the 19th and 20th centuries. The name Stella Artois is held within a "cartouche" which was influenced by the style of Belgian architecture in Leuven.[citation needed]

In 2008, a lower-alcohol version, Stella Artois 4%, was introduced in the UK.[4][5] In 2011, a cider, Stella Artois Cidre, was launched.

In 2012, AB InBev, the makers of Stella Artois, Becks and Budweiser, announced that, for the UK market, they were reducing the alcohol content across their range of beers, from 5% to 4.8%. The original strength of the lager was 5.2%.[1]


Stella Artois brewery in Leuven

Stella Artois is brewed in Belgium (in the plants at Leuven and Jupille) and the United Kingdom, as well as in other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Ukraine.[6] Much of the beer exported from Europe is produced at InBev's brewery in Belgium, and packaged in the Beck's Brewery in Bremen, Germany. Stella Artois is also brewed for the Australian market by Lion.[7] In the United States, Stella Artois is imported and distributed by Anheuser-Busch.[8] For the Hungarian market, Stella Artois is also brewed in Bőcs, Hungary, by Borsod Brewery, under licence from InBev.

Stella Artois is available on draught and in several packaged sizes: 250 ml bottle, 275 ml bottle, 284 ml bottle, 330 ml bottle, 330 ml can, 440 ml can, 500 ml can, 660 ml bottle, 700 ml bottle, 985 ml bottle, 1 litre bottle, and pint-sized can known as "La Grande Bière" (568 ml).


United Kingdom[edit]

Initially, brewers Whitbread launched Stella in the UK with a campaign by its then advertising agency Allen, Brady and Marsh. The theme was 'strength'. With copy by Rod Allen and art direction by Bob Stannard & CD Peter Monkcom, the ads featured the slogan "Stella's for the fellas who take their lager strong". The images showed only a Stella-monogrammed half-pint glass (due to its strength) – in one advertisement with a muscular 'glass arm' for a handle, in the other a glass sitting beside a torn-in-half telephone directory. This was the same creative unit which was involved, at the time, in Whitbread's launch of Trophy Bitter "The pint that thinks it's a quart".

Then, for some time, Stella Artois' advertising slogan in the United Kingdom was "Reassuringly Expensive". The UK television advertising campaigns became known for their distinctive style of imitating European cinema and their leitmotiv inspired by Giuseppe Verdi's La forza del destino. The campaigns began with a series of advertisements based on the 1986 French film Jean de Florette, directed by the British duo Anthea Benton and Vaughan Arnell, moving on to other genres, including war films, silent comedy and even surrealism. They have used notable film directors such as Jonathan Glazer. Furthermore, the brand makes extensive use of the French language in its advertising campaigns, even though the beer brand originates from the monolingual Dutch-speaking city of Leuven. An example of this can be seen in the advertising campaign for Stella Artois Cidre, in which the tag-line "C'est cidre, not cider" is used, although this cider is produced in Zonhoven, which also lies in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in Belgium.[9]

Stella Artois is advertised as containing "only 4 ingredients: Hops, Malted Barley, Maize and Water". Yeast is also an ingredient used in the fermentation process, but almost all of it is removed before packaging. Since 2009, Stella Artois has been suitable for vegetarians, as isinglass (fish bladder) is no longer used to remove trace amounts of yeast.

Stella Artois has been nicknamed "Wife Beater" in the United Kingdom, due to a perceived connection with aggression and binge drinking. AB InBev lobbyists, Portland Communications, were exposed as trying to remove all "wife beater" references from the Stella Artois Wikipedia entry.[10][11]

United States[edit]

An advertisement for Stella Artois featuring actor Adrien Brody aired during Super Bowl XLV in February 2011. Although Anheuser-Busch InBev is a regular advertiser during the Super Bowl, this was the first time Stella Artois had been featured in a Super Bowl advertisement. The commercial was heavily criticized in the Dutch-speaking Belgian media for giving the impression that the beer is French.[12][13]


Stella Artois has been associated with film in the UK since 1994, organizing events, sponsoring television, and hosting a website. Stella Artois has been or is a primary sponsor of the Cannes, Melbourne, and Sundance film festivals, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Little Rock Film Festival.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Inbev expected to launch 4% Stella Artois - Brands News". Morning Advertiser. 2008-06-24. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  2. ^ Fisk, Peter (20 August 2009). Marketing Genius. John Wiley & Sons. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-907293-40-5. 
  3. ^ Interbrew acquires brewing activities of Whitbread Retrieved 1 November 2012. Archived December 23, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Watch the new Stella Artois 4% commercial". 
  5. ^ "No smooth outcome as Stella 4% sales fall". The Grocer. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sun Inbev Ukraine Brands : Stella Artois". Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Lion welcomes Stella Artois and Belgian specialty beers into its Australian portfolio". 2011-12-19. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  8. ^ "Anheuser-Busch: Brand List". Archived from the original on 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  9. ^ Knack (30 March 2011). "Konings maakt Stella Artois Cidre". Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  10. ^ Oliver Wright (2012-01-04). "Lobbying company tried to wipe out 'wife beater' beer references - UK Politics - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  11. ^ City Diary (2012-01-04). "Portland brews up row over 'wife-beater' Stella". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  12. ^ (8 February 2011). "Chique 'Franse' Stella-spot gaat de mist in op Super Bowl". De Persgroep Digital. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  13. ^ De Standaard (8 February 2011). "Stella Artois maakt weinig indruk op publiek Super Bow". De Standaard. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  14. ^ Independent Spirit Awards 2013 on IFC

External links[edit]