Despite its name, it is technically a fairly standard commercial lager rather than a bitter, although perhaps slightly more bitter than many. Originally available at a strength of 4.9% ABV, Victoria Bitter is now sold at a slightly lower concentration of 4.8% ABV to capitalize on potential tax savings. Victoria bitter is also available in New Zealand, the UK and to a limited extent, other countries abroad.
Currently one third of the packaged beer sales in Australia are of VB. It is available in 375 mL cans ("tinnies"), short necked 375 mL bottles ("stubbies"), 750 mL bottles ("Long Necks", "King Browns" or "Tallies") and "Twisties", "Throwies" or "Grenades" (250ml bottles in the State of New South Wales). As of 2005 VB also comes in 500ml tinnies ("Lunch Greens"), which are commonly drunk by trade workers on lunch, being just enough to quench their thirst. It used to be available (and may still be) in the Northern Territory in a 1 litre tinnie nicknamed a 'Killer can' (Kilo can).
In a testament to its long history and popularity, VB has acquired a number of nicknames, ranging from the abbreviated "Vic Bitter", polite "Very Best", "Vitamin B" and "Victory Beer", for after a win in the footy. People who dislike the beer may refer to it as "Vomit Beer", "Vaginal Backwash", or "Visitors Beer". The distinctive green cans may also be referred to as "Boonies" , "Green Cans" or "Gweens".
In 2007, Fosters launched a new, midstrength version of VB called VB Midstrength with an alcohol volume of 3.5%, in order to capitalize on the growing market for midstrength beers, currently dominated by XXXX Gold. VB Midstrength appears to have failed to attract much attention in the southern Australian states of NSW and Victoria, leading some to suggest it is a marketing failure.
TV builder Scott Cam, a self-confessed VB fan, is the appointed VB Mid Ambassador.
On 24 July 2007, The Australian reported that within three months of Fosters launching VB Midstrength, market share for the full strength VB and mid VB had increased. Foster's regional marketing director Anthony Heraghty hinted at further VB brand extensions, saying Foster's was "trying to see past the big green giant".
In 2005, VB had started a promotion where David Boon became the face of Victoria Bitter (VB) beer for its 2005/06 summer advertising campaign, called Boonanza. Part of the promotion was the sale of a talking David Boon figurine with purchases of cartons of beer, which would make comments when prompted by Channel Nine commentary.
In late 2006, the Boonanza promotion returned as Boonanza II for the 2006-07 Ashes series. The promotion now included former England cricket captain Ian Botham as a talking figure, who would interact alongside an updated David Boon figure.
For the 2007-08 Australian cricket series, Shane Warne took over as VB spokesperson from David Boon. Warne will also have a talking figurine as part of a new Warnie promotion, taking over from the highly successful Talking Boony dolls from the two previous Boonanza promotions.
Victoria Bitter were also the main sponsor of the Australian Tri-Series for five years between 2001-02 to 2005-06. During this time the series was renamed The VB Series.
The latest advertising campaign is called the Stubby Symphony, where a hundred members of the Melbourne and Victorian orchestras play the similar theme from The Magnificent Seven only using VB beer bottles. The campaign was created by George Patterson Y&R in Melbourne, and is available to view at StubbySymphony.com