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Pubs ban Stella Artois
Pubs across Sussex have banned a popular brand of lager which is known as 'wife beater'.
Stella Artois, once best known for its upmarket advertising slogan 'reassuringly expensive', is being shunned by landlords for other brands because they say it brings out drinkers' aggression and attracts 'a certain type' of punter.
They took the decision after a judge linked Stella Artois with binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence.
A spokesman for Stella Artois said that one brand should not be made responsible for alcohol misuse problems.
But June Kellichan, landlady of the Black Horse pub in Seaside, Eastbourne, said they took Stella off the pumps about two months ago.
She said: "My customers are loopy enough without any help. It does turn them a little bit aggro - I am sure of it.
"To tell the truth it hasn't been a good seller for a while. It just isn't as popular as it once was and we would prefer to try other beers."
Tony Hills, 66, of The Last Resort private members' club in Marine Parade, Worthing, also does not stock Stella Artois any more.
He said: "It used to be the premier lager for as long as I can remember but now it seems to have taken a bit of a nosedive.
"There is something about Stella which is different to other lagers - it is not just the strength. It is a funny beer and does seem to affect certain people in certain ways and they can get a bit aggressive.
"But if you have got an aggressive nature any booze will aggravate it. I am not sure how much you can blame it."
Dave Edwards, of the Rose and Crown in Montague Street, Worthing, stopped serving Stella Artois six months ago.
He said the lager attracted a rowdy crowd.
Mr Edwards said: "It affects people more than other drinks.
"It is not just the strength but the chemical combination in the recipe and a Stella drinker seems to be a certain type.
"It just isn't a drink for social drinking. It is about something else. People say: 'I want to get smashed, let's go on the Stella.'
"The beer has been known as 'wife beater' for some time and now even the adverts have started referring to it as Artois rather than Stella because of the connotations."
The Evening Star in Surrey Street, Brighton, no longer serves Stella.
The pub's manager Karen Wickham said: "It is simply that I think there are better beers out there."
Sam Litchfield, 24, member of staff at The White Hart, Crawley, said: "It has got that reputation certainly.
"For ages it's been called wife beater and it does seem to do something strange to people."
Phil Hogan, landlord of the Cob and Pen, Surrey Street, Littlehampton, said he no longer sells the lager but only because the brewery which supplies him stopped stocking it.
He said: "I think a lot of it is a load of old twaddle to be honest. It's a five per cent beer the same as lots of others. I don't think there's anything in it."
The Alex, in Bognor, also does not stock Stella.
A spokesman for the pub said: "It's more down to brewery choice. But it does seem to be going out of fashion generally. That wasn't the case five or ten years ago."
James Carter, 31, who works at The Anchor in George Street, Hastings, said: "I think it is a bit of a myth. If people want to get smashed and violent then they will. I don't think it's down to the beer."
The Argus reported in June how Stella Artois came under fire from a judge, Recorder John Hardy, sitting at Brighton Crown Court.
He said: "For people who sit where I do, there are key words in the papers of this case which recur all too frequently in cases involving young men and alcohol.
"They are Stella and binge drinking."
He was sentencing Hastings plasterer Tony Freeman, who attacked his ex-girlfriend's new partner after drinking the lager.
The drink is advertised as being stronger than many other lagers - at 5.2 per cent alcohol by volume.
Freeman, of Athelstan Road, admitted assault, affray and harassment. He was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and attend up to 12 alcohol counselling sessions. He will be under supervision for a year.
A spokesman for Stella Artois said: "There is no doubt that there are alcohol misuse problems but it is ridiculous that one brand should be made responsible for that.
"Using terms like 'wife beater' is inappropriate. It is not big or clever and presents a real risk of trivialising a very serious issue."
Has your local pub stopped serving Stella Artois? Or is the reputation of the lager unfair? Tell us what you think below.