British beer companies are being accused of “dishonesty” for selling beers that appear to be Spanish but are actually brewed in the UK.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Aitor de Artaza, international managing director of the Spanish brewer Estrella Galicia, claims a “lack of transparency” among British beer companies is confusing consumers.

His criticism follows the success of Madrí Excepcional, a lager marketed as “the soul of Madrid.” However, Madrí is brewed in Yorkshire by Molson Coors, the same company that owns Doom Bar and Carling.

“There is a lack of transparency because they use a big famous city in Spain, but they don’t produce here. This is confusing for the consumer,” Artaza tells the publication. Estrella Galicia, on the other hand, has been brewing beer in the Spanish region of Galicia for over a century.

Madrí has become one of the UK’s best-known beers since its launch in 2020. While their website claims collaboration with a Spanish brewery, La Sagra, also owned by Molson Coors, the beer itself is brewed entirely in the UK.

“They did a very nice job in terms of marketing, that’s for sure.” “But it’s a little bit tricky because people think they are drinking a Spanish beer but it’s not. They are not very clear and not, to my point of view, very honest.”

Sales of Madrí have skyrocketed, with Molson Coors reporting supermarket purchases exceeding £100 million. This trend reflects a growing demand for “world lagers,” which often have a higher alcohol content than traditional British beers. However, many of these world lagers, including Birra Moretti and Corona, are brewed in the UK despite their exotic branding.

Molson Coors premium brands director, Karen Albert, emphasised a collaboration between Molson Coors and La Sagra in Spain, combining the expertise of Spanish brewers with Molson Coors’ UK brewing mastery.

“Brewing Madrí Excepcional here in the UK enables us to deliver efficiently, quickly respond to demand and, crucially, to make our beers more sustainably,” says Albert. 

“Brewing in the UK reduces the miles travelled from brewery to bar or shelf and all our beers in the UK are produced using 100pc renewable electricity through a power purchase agreement.”