Carlsberg Nordic is one of the brewers alcohol-free offerings

Carlsberg Nordic is one of the brewer's alcohol-free offerings

The head of Carlsberg has hailed the performance of the group's 'strategic priority' brands, as both its 'craft & speciality' and 'alcohol-free' segments saw strong growth in the first quarter of 2018.

On a conference call following yesterday's results announcement, Cees 't Hart said the company's alcohol-free products grew volumes by 23% in Western Europe, while craft & speciality brands were up overall by 30%. Meanwhile, brand Carlsberg volumes globally came in flat. 

Alcohol-free beer sales were driven by Poland, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany, Hart said, while Russia, France, China, Poland and the Nordic markets were the main drivers behind the growth for craft & speciality, which includes brands such as 1664 Blanc and Grimbergen.

Hart also credited the company's DraughtMaster system with helping propel the division's growth.

Back to alcohol-free, and outside of Western Europe Hart said Russia also contributed to Q1 results. "In Russia," he said, "Baltika 0 also achieved strong results in the quarter."

The CEO said a recent deal with Burger King was also helping Baltika 0 sales.

"We are satisfied with our performance in Q1," Hart said ahead of yesterday's Q&A session with analysts. "We see a solid growth in our key strategic priorities such as craft & speciality and alcohol-free brews."

Carlsberg Performance Trends 2013-2017 - results data