Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat has reported a 15.5% rise in net sales for 2008, driven by strong growth for its brands at home and abroad.

Net sales rose to EUR101m (US$136.6m), while net profit increased by 3% to EUR12.2m, Duvel said late last week. Earnings before interest and tax rose by 8% to EUR19m.

Duvel reported increases in several mature western beer markets. In the US, sales for 2008 rose by 27%, while in the UK, where beer sales are at their lowest for 70 years, Duvel's sales rose by 7%.

The group, which bought Liefmans Breweries lasy year for an undisclosed sum, also reported sales rises of 9% in France, 16% in the Netherlands and 11% at home in Belgium.

Top performing brands were Vedett, Chouffe and Maredsous, which grew sales by 21, 16 and 18% respectively. Flagship Duvel brand grew sales by 8%.

Duvel said that it would invest EUR14.7m this year to expand and upgrade brewing facilities.

The brewer warned of cost rises in 2009, particularly for malt, but said that it was confident of further growth. It declined to give growth figures in its guidance, however, due to the uncertain economic climate.