Psychologists had predicted a drop in the number of incidents of spousal abuse following news that stocks of Strong Belgian beer were becoming scarce. The beer is being held up by strike action, and the problem has been exacerbated in the UK due to panic buying.
However, contrary to this prediction, this weekend the number of reported wife beating cases increased. This has been attributed to the 'weekly shop' effect, whereby men up and down the country have examined the results of the main grocery shopping expedition only to discover that a vital component is missing.
Psychologists have been quick to point out that the effect will diminish as existing home stocks of the beer are used up, and replaced by weaker brands.
The use of the term 'wife-beater' as applied to some brands of strong beer has generally become defunct in recent years, and the term is now usually used to refer to a white sleeveless vest when worn without a shirt.
Elsewhere, there is concern that early onset Alzheimer's may become rife due to the loss of one of the country's main brain-training exercises. Working out the best value version of the beer has long been the most taxing mental task undertaken by the majority of British men.
Supplying a single make of beer in hundreds of different combinations of bottle, can and pack sizes and then offering a bewildering array of special offers and multi-buys, has created one of the most complicated commodity pricing models in the world. The potential purchaser has to compare the relative prices of the various offerings, and is hampered by the shop's joke attempts to indicate value by displaying comparison price labels in a mixture of pints, litres and decilitres and without showing if offers are included or not.
When a recent contestant on Mastermind wanted to be tested on a specialist subject of Stella Artois pricing, 2000 to 2002, the producers said it was too difficult to confirm the validity of the answers.
The ability of UK men to overcome the immensely difficult calculations to get the best value beer shouldn't be underestimated. Although a team from Loughborough University was able to create a computer that could theoretically make the value calculations quicker than the average thirsty man, it failed to reach an answer in live trials when faced with flickering fluorescent lighting, orchestrated versions of Oasis hits and an announcement about a wet spillage in aisle four.
In the UK there have been calls for the Government to bail out the Belgian brewery industry so that things can get back to normal. A prominent web-based source told us: "A local man should be able to buy Belgian beer without let or hindrance. I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe, like access to Coronation Street and 80's music, it's a basic human right. I'm down to one can tonight, but there will be more as we get it."