Although Belgium is best known internationally for its ales, the so-called "table beers," the bottom-fermented pilsner lagers such as Stella Artois head the list for domestic consumption, making up almost 75% of Belgian beer production. Stella is promoted as an international brand by its brewer, InBev. In its home market of Belgium, however, it is marketed, priced and sold as a regular lager. It is brewed in Belgium and the United Kingdom, as well as other countries, including Australia. Much of the Stella Artois exported from Europe is currently produced at the InBev Brewery in Belgium, and packaged in the Beck's brewery in Bremen, Germany.
The Anno 1366 on the Stella Artois logo refers to the origin of brewing in the city of Leuven. The city's tax records dated 1366 mention the existence of a local brewpub called Den Hoorn, ('Hoorn' in Flemish meaning 'Horn' in English, as is represented in the logo on the beer label). The name Artois was coupled to the brewery in 1708, when new owner Sebastian Artois achieved the title of Master Brewer. The frame that surrounds the name Stella Artois on the label refers to the traditional style of window frame found in Flemish architecture.
Stella Artois is available on draught and in several packaged sizes, including a 275 ml bottle, 284 ml bottle, a 330 ml bottle, a 440 ml can, a 50cl can, a pint size can known as "La Grande Biere" (568 ml), 66 cl bottle, 70 cl bottle and a 1-liter bottle.
- 1366 - Records of taxes exist on Leuven's Den Horen Brewery, a brewery that is still in existence today.
- 1708 - Sebastian Artois becomes the master brewer at Den Horen.
- 1717 - Sebastian Artois gives his name to the brewery.
- 1926 - Stella Artois was launched initially as a seasonal beer especially for the Christmas holiday market.
- 1930 - The first Stella Artois beer is exported to the European market.
- 1960 - 1 million hectoliters of Stella Artois is produced annually for the first time.
- 1993 - InBev open a new fully automated brewery in Leuven.
- 2006 - Total production volume reaches over 10 million hectoliters annually.
- 2013 - Stella Artois beer become available in South Africa at a ridiculously high price.
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 adverts based on Jean de Florette, moving on to other genres including war movies, silent comedy and even surrealism (for which the slogan was changed to "Reassuringly Elephants"). They have used notable movie directors such as Jonathan Glazer, and their aim was to portray the drink in a context of sophisticated European culture.
During 2007, the "reassuringly expensive" slogan was dropped, and the word "Stella" has been avoided in the advertisements. This has been seen as a reaction to the lager's perceived connection with aggression and binge-drinking in the United Kingdom, where it is nicknamed "wife beater".
In Belgium, Stella Artois is promoted as Mijn thuis is waar mijn Stella staat and Chez moi, c'est près de ma Stella (My home is where my Stella is). Interestingly, in Belgium, Stella is sold as a regular lager and does not enjoy the more flattering reputation it has abroad.
Stella Artois is also brewed in Abbotsford, Melbourne by Carlton & United Beverages for the Australian market under license from InBev.
Stella Artois has had a long association with film. Dating back to 1994 (in the UK), the beer has organized a range of events as well as TV sponsorship of Channel 4 films and a website. Most recently the beer brand has adopted the new identity - Studio Artois. Stella Artois has been a primary sponsor of the film festivals at Cannes and Sundance.
In May 2008, an advertising campaign was run in the United Kingdom reporting that Stella Artois is only made from four ingredients: hops, malted barley, maize and water. Technically, the process also uses agents such as yeast for fermentation and isinglass for clarification ; "The animal product that we use is Isinglass (fish finings). This is a clarification agent made from certain fish. It assists clarification by attracting the yeast cells causing them to coagulate into larger particles which then separate from the beer, giving the beer a clean and clear appearance." (Interbrew 19-Nov-2003).
- Peeterman Artois, a 4% wheat-based lager often sold alongside Stella Artois in the UK
- Artois Bock, a 6.2% 'brown' beer to be phased out and replaced by Eiken Artois
- Eiken Artois, a5.6% 'oak aged' lager sold alongside Stella Artois in the UK
- Stella Artois: Official Website
- Brasserie Artois: Artois Family of Beers
- Rating on RateBeer.com
- Photos from the now-defunct Stella brewery in Leuven
- Singapore Stella Artois Gold Standard Establishment Information
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