Adnams gets boost from new beers
The Suffolk-based firm said own-brewed beer volumes rose 5% in the six months to June 30, as sales through off-licences and supermarkets rose 13% and it held its prices for pub customers for the fourth year in a row.
Demand was boosted by new products such as pale ale Ghost Ship, a Diamond Ale to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee and a new low-alcohol beer.
While it cited industry figures that showed cask ale volumes were down 2%, Adnams managed to grow sales to its pub customers, even if volumes at its own 71 tenanted pubs, which are mainly in East Anglia, were slightly down amid the wash-out start to the summer.
Demand for its ales, including at 11 Cellar & Kitchen stores, helped operating profits rise 5.5% to £857,000, while turnover was up 5% to £25.8 million.
Chairman Jonathan Adnams, who is the fourth generation in his family to run the company, said: "We are pleased that against a market that is down somewhat, we have continued to grow beer volumes. It's the most difficult year we have faced in terms of encouraging people to part with their hard-earned cash."
The company was started in 1872 when George and Ernest Adnams bought the Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold, although George later emigrated for South Africa, where he was eaten by a crocodile.
Two years ago, it opened a distillery, which has started producing vodka and gin, with orders from as far afield as Dubai, Canada and the Falkland Islands. Its first whiskeys, which are currently maturing, will go on sale next November.
More recently, the group had launched a new Flame Runner beer to help celebrate the Olympics, which had proved popular. But Mr Adnams said trade in London had been hit by the event as people vacated the city amid fears of widespread disruption.
And he said the Government's "misguided" policy to increase beer duty above inflation was continuing to harm the industry and was costing jobs that could be given to the UK's army of unemployed youths.