Brewers bullish despite challenging beer market

16 March, 2011

Shepherd Neame has reported an increase in beer volumes, despite poor weather conditions and challenging economic conditions.

The Spitfire and Bishop’s Finger brewer said total beer volumes rose 0.6% in the six months to December 25. Turnover rose 1.6% to £61.7 million and operating profit was static at £6.4 million.

Chairman Miles Templeman said: “The market is under volume and margin pressure but our key brands are performing well. During the period Spitfire volume grew by 1.4%, Bishop’s Finger by 7.9% and Asahi by 25.5%.

“We have continued to invest in developing our brands and strengthening our marketing team. During the period we have entered a high profile partnership with the Royal Albert Hall which includes the installation of branded Spitfire and Asahi bars.

“In the brewery we have driven further benefits from our recent investment in a new bottling line and SAP IT platform.”

Meanwhile Marstons has issued a trading statement for the 23 weeks to March 12, in which it reports own-brewed beer volumes up 4% on last year, “comparing favourably to a UK ale market down by around 7%”.

The Pedigree and Hobgoblin brewer said: “Our focus on localness and premium ale continues to drive growth, with premium cask ale up 5% and bottled ale up 16% in the period.”




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Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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