UK's three leading lagers - Budvar, Heineken and Stella Artois - are indistinguishable, according to blind taste tests

So is brand loyalty driven solely by advertising and packaging?

The next time it's your turn to get a round in after work and your colleagues give you a shopping list of their preferred pints, just ignore them and order five of the same.

New data suggests that no-one is likely to be able tell the difference anyway.

Using European pale lagers (Budvar, Heineken and Stella Artois), researchers at the Stockholm School of Economics blind-tested 138 volunteers aged between 21 and 70. They were given three samples of the beer, two of which were the same and one was different.

They were then asked to select the odd one out and their findings were clear.

"They cannot distinguish between three major competing beer brands," stated the (rather brutal) report.

"Our results suggest that brand loyalty in this market is likely to be driven largely by marketing and packaging and not by underlying sensory properties of the competing products."

Ouch.

For all the various companies' claims of being "reassuringly expensive" or "refreshing the parts other beers cannot reach", it turns out that mass-produced golden nectar is much of a muchness.

This news might be welcomed by the casual beer drinker (no more waiting around for the barman to change the barrel of your "favourite" beer, just order another. They all taste the same!) but you can bet that the manufacturers won't be pleased with the findings.

"I think basically what we're looking at is a commodity industry – the products are interchangeable," said Robin Goldstein, one of the authors of the Hide The Label, Hide The Difference report. "It also means that the beer industry has perfected pale lager beer."

Booze choose: three 'aleconners' perform a taste-test on beer at the Brewers' Exhibition in London in 1936 Booze choose: three 'aleconners' perform a taste-test on beer at the Brewers' Exhibition in London in 1936 (Getty Images)
And it's certainly not the first time that an independent blind test has left a major brand's marketing department with a bad taste in its mouth. In a survey of 13 tomato ketchups by Which?, Heinz finished joint second from last, despite boasting an 80 per cent share of the market. The favourite was a Sainsbury's own brand that cost almost half the price of "the nation's favourite".

And while the sauce company also insist that Beanz Meanz Heinz, evidently consumers decided that, in fact, beans means Branston.

When Which? (surely now Heinz's arch-nemesis) tested a dozen types of baked beans, Heinz only came in fourth, being beaten by Branston and, perhaps even more embarrassingly, by Asda's and Morrison's budget offerings as well.

Read more: Britain's 'best beer' revealed at 2014 festival
Britain's 'best beer' revealed at 2014 Great British Beer Festival
Man breaks through brick store wall for a 12-pack of beer

Perrier-Jouët would be hoping that few people found out about research carried out by the Universities of Oxford and London which found that bubbly experts preferred the taste of a Mumm Vintage 2004 (a steal at £40) over the rather pricier (£400, in fact) Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs.

However, if these companies grow too concerned, they should take comfort in the findings of one of the most famous ongoing blind taste tests in history.

Ever since the 1980s, Pepsi has asked the public to don a blindfold and choose between their drink and Coke. The ads might have always shown Pepsi being picked, but it was in real life, too. Apparently, Pepsi was sweeter.

Frustratingly for Pepsi, however, it remains the third biggest-selling soft drink in the US (behind Coke and Diet Coke), despite more people claiming to prefer the taste of its fizz. Brand loyalty has a lot to answer for.

Perhaps, however, it offers a certain comfort to the lager companies, given the latest findings. History shows that even if the beers are "interchangeable", pub-goers aren't likely to change their order any time soon and try something new.

Just ask poor old Pepsi.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Day In a Page

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world