Get Pumped, We Tried the New VB VX ‘Xtra’ Beer and Copped a 6% Kick
UPDATE: This article has been amended from the original content to more accurately reflect the accuracy and accreditation of sources.
Attention all beer enthusiasts, get ready to perk up and maybe even hiccup as Victoria Bitter has launched a new brand extension called Xtra – or VX. But don’t let the simple name and smaller 250ml stubbie size fool you, this brew packs a punch at 6% ABV compared to the classic VB’s 4.9%.
While an exciting move for the lager legends, will these little red bottles be enough to capture its intended target market? We got a case into Man of Many HQ last week as our team put the VB Xtra stubbies through a rigorous taste test. Check out the video below to see how they compare to the classic VB and determine if they’re worth every cent of the $75 for a case we’re seeing online!
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Where to Buy VB Xtra VX in Australia
Officially released in early March, the new VX is currently stocked at alcohol retailers across the country. However, unlike the original 6-pack format, VB producer Carlton United Breweries (CUB) has made the release available exclusively in 4 x 250ml ‘throwdown’ stubbies for $16 or a 24 x 250ml case for around $60.
Despite the small stature, the media release announcing VX confirmed that each bottle contains 1.2 standard drinks, courtesy of a significantly higher alcohol percentage. This time around, CUB has upped the ABV from the traditional 4.9% to a flat 6.0%, which could be part of the reason it’s been described as a “slightly bolder and more intense version of the great VB taste”.
“The VX launch comes as VB enjoys a resurgence, after beer lovers reverted to trusted brands during COVID, ” VB brand director Sarah Wilcox said in a press release.
“Australians are increasingly moderating their alcohol consumption – with almost 30% of Carlton & United Breweries’ beer sales now, zero, low and mid-strength beers,” she added. “However, higher-alcohol beers are increasingly popular in the craft segment, and we think there’s a market among traditional beer lovers who also want bolder and more intense flavours. It’s all about choice.”
As beer fans may note, VB is no stranger to toying with the strength of its beer, although it’s generally been in the opposite direction. Back in 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the iconic brewer had dropped its ABV to 4.6%, in an attempt to avoid a looming 2% excise, before backflipping in 2012. The latest move pushes the needle back towards heavy territory, albeit in a small 250ml format.
At the time of writing, VB Xtra VX is a hard beer to come by, however, we’ve linked a few retailers down below.
Buy VB Xtra (Dan Murphy’s) Buy VB Xtra (Bayfields) Buy VB Xtra (The Bottle-O)
For CUB, the new VX release is being heralded as a strong move, however, as Brews News Australia‘s Matt Kirkegaard rightly points out, it does seem oddly familiar. In fact, the new VX marketing bears a striking resemblance to rival XXXX’s Special Brew from 2006. In his reporting, Kirkegaard explained that while the 6.5% XXXX Special Brew was designed for those who frequent the “night time zone”, it never really hit the mark. Perhaps forgoing the “night time zone” (whatever that is) for something “slightly bolder” is the answer.
Regardless, let’s raise our glasses to CUB for taking a risk and launching VX.
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