Lord's proves a test for the brewer Marston'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 6 per cent in the past 10 weeks, had to scramble a tanker carrying 8,640 pints of its Pedigree ale down from Wolverhampton to the St John's Wood ground to slake cricket watchers' thirsts.

"We came close to running out," the chief executive, Ralph Findlay, said. "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 past couple of years."

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

Simon Emeny, the 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 Mitchells & Butlers, Britain's biggest manager of pubs and restaurants, has experienced a more modest sunshine effect, with 2 per cent growth in sales over the past nine weeks, up from 1 per cent in the previous five weeks.