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Stella Artois is a 5% ABV global lager first brewed in Leuven, Belgium in 1926 as a Christmas brew, and named Stella after the Latin for "star".
Although Belgium is best known internationally for its ales, the so-called "table beers", the bottom-fermented pilsner lagers such as Stella Artois head the list for domestic consumption, making up almost 75% of Belgian beer production. Stella is promoted as an international brand by its brewer, InBev. In its home market of Belgium, however, it is marketed, priced and sold as a regular lager. Despite its success internationally, the number 1 selling beer in Belgium is its sister beer Jupiler.
In the UK, a lower ABV version is available called Stella Artois 4%. This variant was launched to compete with Beck's Vier and to address negative associations of the brand.
Stella Artois is brewed in Belgium (both in the plants of Leuven and Jupille) and the United Kingdom, as well as other countries, including Australia, and Ukraine. Much of the Stella Artois exported from Europe is currently produced at InBev's brewery in Belgium, and packaged in the Beck's brewery in Bremen, Germany.
The Anno 1366 on the Stella Artois logo refers to the origin of brewing in the city of Leuven. The city's tax records dated 1366 mention the existence of a local brewpub called Den Hoorn, ('Hoorn' in Dutch meaning 'Horn' in English, as is represented in the logo on the beer label). The frame that surrounds the name Stella Artois on the label refers to the traditional style of window frame found in Flemish architecture.
Stella Artois is available on draught and in several packaged sizes, including a 275 ml bottle, 284 ml bottle, a 330 ml bottle, a 440 ml can, a 50cl can, a pint size can known as "La Grande Bière" (568 ml), 66 cl bottle, 70 cl bottle and a 1 litre bottle
1366 The first recorded history of Stella Artois begins when records of taxes exist on Leuven's Den Horen Brewery, a brewery that is still in existence today.
1708 Sebastian Artois became the master brewer at Den Horen.
1717 Sebastian Artois gave his name to the brewery.
1926 Stella Artois was launched initially as a seasonal beer especially for the Christmas holiday market. It was such a commercial success that the brand became available year round and, apart from the duration of the Second World War, has been produced ever since.
1930 The first Stella Artois beer was exported to the European market.
By 1960, 1 million hl of Stella Artois was being produced annually.
1988 The current pack design and bottle shape was created in 1988 by the late David Taylor, founder of Taylorbrands. The design replaced a 1960s design and is inspired by the original 1926 bottle label. The design incorporates the horn symbol of the Den Horen brewery and the date 1366 which is the date of the earliest recorded brewing in Leuven. The label also shows medals for excellence awarded to the brewery at a number of trade exhibitions in Belgium in the 19th and 20th century. The name Stella Artois is held within a "cartouche" which was influenced by the style of Flemish architecture of Leuven.
1993 InBev opened a new fully automated brewery in Leuven.
2006 Total production volume was over 10 million hl annually.