Zimbabwe brewer Delta Corp has blamed “significant pressure” on disposable incomes as beer volumes continue to plunge.

In a trading update yesterday, the company, which is part owned by SABMiller, said lager volumes fell by 29% in the three months to the end of September and by 25% in the six months to the same date.

In April, the company said volumes were down 26% in the three months to the end of March and 18% for the full fiscal year.

“The general economic performance remains depressed,” said the company, which is due to release first-half results on 13 November. Delta added that a 2012 tax increase “has continued to limit the affordability of our products”.

Overall beverage volumes were down 3% and 1% for the quarter and half year respectively as increased demand for sorghum beer offset lager beer performance. The rollout of Chibuka Super helped drive sorghum beer volumes up by 12% in the quarter and by 14% for the half year, Delta said. 

Soft drinks volumes fell by 8% in the quarter and 6% in the half year.

Overall company sales were down 4% for the six months, “reflecting the notable changes in sales and product mix”, said Delta, which also operates agri-business units.

SABMiller today reported a rise in first-half sales, but its Q2 performance was dragged down by China and Australia.