England’s unexpected success in this year’s rugby world cup helped Greene King increase sales of its major ale brands over the last six months.
Greene King IPA, recently crowned an official sponsor of the England rugby team, increased volume sales by four per cent in the 24 weeks to October 14.
“Very successful off-trade promotions” around England’s dogged march to the rugby world cup final were key, the brewer said.
That brief sporting achievement helped to offset poor weather in the UK this summer, which has hit many brewers hard.
Revenues crept up by just one per cent to £41.4m in Greene King’s brewing division during the 24-week period.
But the division continued to benefit from a growing premium ale market, increasing operating profit by four per cent to £10.4m.
Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen increased volume sales by nearly seven per cent, to remain the top-selling premium ale in UK supermarkets.
Sales in the UK’s off-trade ale market have dropped one per cent over the last year, with six of the country’s top 10 brands posting slumps, according to the Off Licence News Beer Report 2007.