CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Spain’s best beers? A low-cost supermarket brand and Estrella Galicia

Consumer watchdog praises white label brews over better-known makes

Spaniards drink an average of 48 liters of beer a year.
Spaniards drink an average of 48 liters of beer a year.

After putting 31 of Spain’s beers to the test, the country’s OCU consumer watchdog has decided that  El Corte Inglés department store’s Hipercor brand lager offers the best value among classic beers, while Ambar and Estrella Galicia come top in the specialty range.

The OCU says that Hipercor’s 33-centiliter tin is not only tastier than its better-known rivals, such as Mahou and Heineken, but that at 36 cents a can, it’s significantly cheaper.

Last year the OCU assessed face creams, ranking German low-cost supermarket Lidl’s Cien brand top in its category, prompting a rush on sales

In the specialty category, Ambar and Estrella Galicia, which come in at between 55 cents and 76 cents a tin, are the best, ahead, for example of supermarket chain Mercadona’s Stark and Condis Premium Pilsner.

This isn’t the first time the OCU’s findings have put supermarket brands ahead of their better-known and more expensive rivals. Last year it assessed face creams, ranking German low-cost supermarket Lidl’s Cien brand top in its category, prompting a rush on sales.

The OCU laboratory tested the composition of the 31 beers, checking the amount of malt used in the brewing process, as well as assessing taste and appearance. Its conclusions are that Germany and Belgium have little to fear for the moment, given that only a third of Spanish beers put to the taste test were considered acceptable.

Spaniards drink an average of 46 liters of beer annually per person, the beverage costing around €1.48 a liter.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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