• Half-year net profits up by 6% to GBP3.6m (US$5.7m)
  • Net sales rise by 9% to GBP67.4m
  • Operating profits increase by 4% to GBP6.7m
  • Asahi, bottled beer lift volumes 
Shepherd Neame sees volumes up 7% in H1

Shepherd Neame sees volumes up 7% in H1

Consumer demand for bottled beer in the UK and the import licence for Asahi have helped Shepherd Neame to outperform the country's beer sector in the first half of its fiscal year.

Shepherd Neame's net sales for the six months to 24 December rose by 9.2% to GBP67.4m (US$106.6m). The Spitfire beer brewer's volume sales rose by almost 7% versus the same period of the previous year, when volumes crept up by 0.6%. 

The group attributed the rise to strong demand for bottled beers and also sales of Asahi, which it distributes in the UK on behalf of the brand's namesake Japanese brewer. Shepherd Neame can expect a further lift in April, when it is due to begin selling Boston Beer Co's Samuel Adams Boston Lager under licence in the UK.

For the half-year, the firm's net profits rose by 6% to GBP3.6m. Operating profits increased by 4% to GBP6.7m. 

Despite a relatively strong beer sales performance in a declining UK market, the group said that it wants to diversify further into pub ownership and food. "Our strategy is to make selective acquisitions of the highest quality pubs and hotels within our heartland when they become available and, as we develop our skills in food and accommodation, we feel increasingly confident to make further investments in these areas," it said yesterday (8 March). 

While the economic climate remains challenging in the UK, the group added that "when the conditions are right, consumers still want to go out for a meal or a drink". 

For the company announcement, click here.