‘It’s good, but it’s not quite Carling,’ according to the advertising slogan.
As it turns out, it’s not as good as it says it is on the label.
The company behind the lager has dodged a £50 million tax bill because the drink is weaker than advertised.
Carling is marketed in Britain at 4 per cent alcohol strength, but brewers Molson Coors have admitted it is weaker for tax reasons. Court documents reveal the lager has been made to a strength of about 3.7 per cent for the past five years.
But Molson Coors did not change the strength recorded on Carling labels to prevent drinkers from ‘demanding a slice’ of the saving, tribunal documents said. The brewer insists customers have not been misled and its labelling was ‘entirely consistent with the law’.
The details emerged in a tax tribunal brought against the beer makers by HMRC over an alleged unpaid multi-million-pound duty bill.
There was, back in the heyday of the plastic beers, one which was withdrawn from sale once the strength had to be publicly announced. It was brewed to a strength where it wasn’t really alcohol you see, at least not in what duty had to be paid although it was sold in pubs at something close to the price of other beers.