InBev is hoping new products will help boost sales in 2008 after volumes dropped 10 per cent last year.
Rising production costs, a slowing economy and the introduction of the smoking ban last summer were blamed for the slump by InBev UK’s president Stuart MacFarlane.
“It has been another tough year for the beer business in the UK – the worst in 30 years according to the BBPA - and despite having some of the best beer brands available in this country, it has been another tough year for us,” he said in response to the brewer’s full year results released today.
A bad performance for Stella Artois in the UK dragged volume down worldwide by 2.4 per cent. However, sales of Becks were stronger and helped push volume up 4.3 per cent.
Overall, InBev’s worldwide beer volumes were up 4.7 per cent and revenue increased 7.2 per cent, making the Belgian brewer a net profit of €1.8 billion.
MacFarlane said he was confident that 2008 would see the brewer “turn a corner” in the UK.
He said: “We have the strongest portfolio of beers available, including the newly launched Eiken Artois and the very successful Beck’s Vier, which saw us create a whole new category of premium standard lagers. And we have some exceptional plans for Stella Artois in the coming year which will keep the brand in its rightful place as the premium lager of choice.”