Victoria Bitter, or VB, is an Australian beer. It has the highest market share of all beer sold in Australia, both on tap and packaged. Victoria Bitter is brewed by Carlton & United Beverages, a subsidiary of Foster's Group, brewers of Fosters Lager.
VB is Australia's highest selling beer and has been for more than 20 years. It sells twice as much as any other full strength beer and is the only Australian beer brand that is in the top 3 sellers in every state. VB is Australia's only billion dollar retail beer brand and sells the equivalent of one slab every second.
Despite its name, it is technically a fairly standard commercial lager rather than a bitter. Originally available at a strength of 4.9% ABV, Victoria Bitter is now sold at an ABV of 4.6% (which is equal to virtually every other major Australian lager) and the price stayed the same when most other beers increased. The VB sold commercially in New Zealand is also 4.6% and is available in 375mls quantities in either bottles or cans.
Victoria Bitter is also available in New Zealand, Bali, Indonesia, the UK, and, to a limited extent, other countries abroad.
The beer has acquired numerous nicknames over the years.
The origins of Victoria Bitter date back to Victoria Brewery founder Thomas Aitken, who developed the recipe in the early 1900s. The beer began to gain wide popularity in the mid 1960s with an innovative television advertising campaign featuring a very similar recording of the theme from the film The Magnificent Seven, images of working-class Australians at work and play, and a voice-over by notable Australian actor John Meillon. The campaign was used until quite recently. Paul Hester, late drummer of Crowded House, once appeared in a VB advert. The slogan "For a hard earned thirst, you need a big cold beer, and the best cold beer is Vic, Victoria Bitter" was replaced by "VB – The Drinking Beer" as part of a marketing strategy to reposition VB up-market. A recent advertising campaign features David Boon, although a number of other ads are occasionally screened, such as one which promotes Australia's love of barbecuing meat, including its national emblems, the kangaroo and emu. Like most Australian Lagers, VB is made using a wortstream brewing process, and uses a portion of cane sugar to thin out the body of the beer.
Currently one third of the packaged beer sales in Australia are of VB. It is available in 375 mL cans ("tinnies"), short-necked 375 mL bottles ("stubbies"), 750 mL bottles ("Long Necks", "King Browns" or "Tallies") and "Twisties", "Throwies" or "Grenades" (250 ml bottles in the State of New South Wales). As of 2005 VB also comes in 500 ml tinnies ("Lunch Greens"), which are commonly drunk by trade workers on lunch, being just enough to quench their thirst. It used to be available in the Northern Territory in a 1 litre tinnie nicknamed a 'Killer can' (Kilo can). As with all packaged beer sold in Australia it was for many years only available in 750 mL or 26 2/3 fl oz (1/6 imperial gallon) bottles, until the introduction of "stubbies" and smaller cans.
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