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Business News

Bowled over brewers’ bonanza


Britain’s brewers and publicans have been making hay while the sun shines with one of them almost running out of beer on the first day of the Lord’s test match.

Marston’s, which saw sales jump six per cent in the past 10 weeks, had to scramble a tanker carrying 8640 pints of its Pedigree ale down from Wolverhampton to the St John’s Wood ground to slake cricket watchers’ thirsts.

“We got close to running out,” admitted chief executive Ralph Findlay. “But we got there in time and we have had a great Ashes.

“More broadly the sunshine has been great. Over 90 per cent of our pubs have beer gardens or good outdoor areas and we have benefited from the big investment we have made in those in the last couple of years.”

London-based Fuller, Smith & Turner has had an even stronger start to the summer. Sales in pubs which have been open at least a year in the 16 weeks to last weekend are up 10 per cent.

Simon Emeny, chief executive, said: “The boost to our fortunes that the sunshine brings is small in the context of our long-term future. I am therefore equally pleased that the underlying business is well placed.”

But Britain’s biggest manager of pubs and restaurants Mitchells & Butlers has seen a more modest sunshine effect, with 2 per cent growth in sales over the past nine weeks, up from 1 per cent in the preceding five weeks.