UK regional brewer and pub group Shepherd Neame has enjoyed rising earnings and sales for the six months to 24 December.

The Kent-based company today (21 March) posted an 8.6% rise in operating profit to GBP6.4m (US$11.2m) on the back of a 2.8% increase in turnover to GBP48.9m. Like-for-like sales from its managed pubs estate rose 4.5%, while its tenanted outlets saw sales grow 11.8%.

The company's chief executive Jonathan Neame said the company had delivered a "strong performance" despite "subdued consumer spending and continuing pressure on costs".

He added: "Our pub estate has shown good growth in all areas. Total beer volumes have grown by 2.6%, with good performances from Spitfire and Bishops Finger and an encouraging start with Asahi Super Dry."

Last July, Shepherd Neame signed a deal to brew Asahi Super Dry under licence from Japan's largest brewer, Asahi.