The effect of alcohol strength on alcohol consumption: a protocol for a randomised controlled pilot trial

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Primary aim

To establish the feasibility of a randomised controlled cross-over trial, which would assess the effect of lager strength on lager consumption in a single drinking occasion within licensed premises.

Secondary aims

To establish a control product (4.8% ABV lager) that tastes most similar to the pre-determined intervention product, Bud Light (3.5% ABV lager).

To estimate the effect of drinking reduced strength lager compared to regular strength lager on the number of UK units of alcohol consumed in a single drinking occasion within licensed premises.

To test the processes outlined in the study protocol.

To determine licensed premises and participant recruitment rates.

To determine the participant attrition rate.

To gain an understanding of the public acceptability of reducing the strength of alcohol as an intervention to reduce alcohol consumption.


The aims will be achieved through three stages of study:

A taste experiment.

A double-blind randomised controlled cross-over pilot trial.

Semi-structured qualitative telephone interviews.


Data collection for the taste experiment occurred in October 2017 and data will be analysed in November 2017.

Data collection for the pilot trial and the interviews will occur concurrently between April 2018 and October 2018. Data analysis for the pilot trial and the interviews and the write up will occur between November 2018 and July 2019.


The research team will seek funding for a randomised controlled cross-over trial if the pilot study meets a pre-specified nine-point criteria. This can be found in the discussion section of the study protocol, which is on the Open Science Framework website:


Professor David Foxcroft, Professor in Community Psychology and Public Health, Oxford Brookes University (Director of Studies) Dr Emma Davies, Lecturer in Psychology Oxford Brookes University (Second Supervisor)

Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest


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Miss Parvati Perman-Howe