Brewing of Lowenbrau lager in the UK is being stopped for the brand to be relaunched as a premium brew competing with Stella Artois and Kronenbourg 1664.

The lager will be repositioned as a "niche brand", targeting 25 to 40-year-old "discerning lager drinkers".

The marketing and distribution company Refresh UK, which won the rights to Lowenbrau in June 2000, will stop brewing L÷wenbrau Premium in the UK and will import the stronger L÷wenbrau Original from Munich.

An ad campaign, created in-house and due to be launched next month, will focus on the brand's German roots.

A report by Datamonitor, published earlier this month, said the British market for niche beer brands is likely to grow, thanks to the popularity of Belgian imports such as Hoegaarden and Leffe.