Carlsberg has reacted to consumer distaste for its lager by admitting that it was “probably not” the best in the world.

The Danish brewer has launched a new recipe following increasingly harsh reaction from drinkers to its original slogan – “Probably the best lager in the world” – which accompanied falling sales.

A new advertising campaign has seen the brewer promote disparaging comments about the old beer on Twitter, including one that compared it to “drinking the bathwater your nan died in”.

Another tweet reads: “Carlsberg tastes like stale breadsticks.”

In recent weeks some Twitter users speculated that the self-deprecating promotion of the tweets had been caused by a rogue employee.

The new advertising campaign declares: “Probably not the best beer in the world. So we’ve changed it.”

A disparaging comment from one user

After the change to the ingredients and brewing method, the lager has been rebranded as Carlsberg Danish Pilsner.

It has the same alcohol content of 3.8% but a “crisper, fuller flavour”.

Carlsberg UK’s vice president of marketing, Liam Newton, said: “Drinkers’ interest in mainstream lager has waned because, though the world has moved on, the mainstream category hasn’t.

“At Carlsberg UK, we lost our way. We focused on brewing quantity, not quality; we became one of the cheapest, not the best.”