3 Best Selling Lagers – Spot The Difference

Commercial Lagers taste the same

A recent article claiming ‘The UK’s 3 leading lagers are indistinguishable when tasted blind’ caused much debate here as to whether the results would differ if instead of ‘volunteers’ the tasters were instead industry professionals (allegedly) with over 35 years combined experience in the alcohol industry…..surely we can spot the difference?

We put it to the test and carried out 3 rounds of triangle tastings, where three beers were handed to the taster individually blind (to avoid spotting the colour differences) – two beers were the same and the taster was asked to pick the odd one out of the three.

Results shown in the table below.

Lager Tasting Results

Interestingly (and disappointingly) our results were consistent with those of the Stockholm School of Economics, with only 2 of the 9 tastings being able to distinguish one beer from the others.

Whilst our results showed some correlation of being able to distinguish between Budvar (a guilty pleasure beer for us all when we’re stuck somewhere with a limited beer selection) and Heineken, in truth we all admitted that any differences were very subtle.

If you can bear to part money for any of these 3 beers, try it yourself and see if you can pick between the beers. Angry and disillusioned we vowed never to waste money on any of these beers again, and began to wonder who would have the worlds best selling beer if they were all sold in the same bottles with plain labels and no marketing budget……..neither of these 3 we’d imagine. Labels and packaging, do they matter and can they influence taste – yes.


  • Reply October 19, 2014


    Budvar is a decent beer -it’s reassuring that the majority picked it out. Also, differences between lagers are subtle -it’s easy to get “in the ballpark” with lagers but hard to make a great one.

  • Reply February 9, 2015


    Pete’s right.

    Budvar is one of the world’s great lagers. I’m afraid it says more about you that it does about Budvar.

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