SABMiller hails World Cup effect

SABMiller hails World Cup effect

SABMiller sold more beer than it expected in South Africa during the FIFA World Cup, helping to offset difficult conditions for the brewer's local subsidiary in its first fiscal quarter.

SABMiller's South African Breweries (SAB) division said today (15 July) that beer sales by volume were "slightly ahead of expectations" during the World Cup month.

Visiting fans and locals sank 130,000 hectolitres of the brewer's beers, compared to the firm's estimate of 100,000 hectolitres.

"This extra volume will support SAB’s financial results for the first quarter of 2010, which were otherwise restrained by Easter timing and the cold weather," said the group, which set aside ZAR170m (US$22.4m) to spend around the tournament.

SAB supplied the ten FIFA fan sites across South Africa during the World Cup, although it had to do so using unbranded cans of lager so as not to violate an exclusive sponsorship deal between FIFA and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Castle and Castle Lite lagers, as well as Hansa and Carling Black Label, proved particularly popular with fans, SAB said. Visiting fans also drank Grolsch, Millers and Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

SAB's chairman and MD, Norman Adami, said prior to the tournament that his company is confident of maintaining its near-90% share of South Africa's beer market, despite a challenge from Heineken and Diageo.   

SABMiller's first fiscal quarter runs for the three months to the end of June.