Strong demand for unpasteurised tank beer boosts Miller Brands sales in the first half

Sales of its Czech Pilsner Urquell brand jumped 17 per cent in the first half

Miller Brands, the UK subsidiary of South African brewing giant SABMiller, said today sales of its Czech Pilsner Urquell brand jumped 17 per cent in the half year to September 30, after a record July and huge enthusiasm for its unpasteurised tank beer following a trial over the summer.

Beers are usually pasteurised to ensure uniformity and a longer shelf life, but Miller installed two huge copper tanks at the White Horse pub in Parsons Green, allowing drinkers to experience the yeast and flavours of the unpasteurised beer delivered within 24 hours from the brewery in Pilsen. Miller will now roll out the tanks at key London locations.

Managing director Gary Haigh said the product appealed to a “cosmopolitan” British drinker.

“The early success of unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell in the UK underpins our belief that consumers are looking for authenticity and differentiation in the beers they drink.”

Peroni also enjoyed strong sales against the backdrop of a flat UK beer market.

SABMiller, which has more than 200 beer brands including Grolsch, grew lager volumes 1%. Pre-tax profits rose 7% to $2.43 billion (£1.5 billion) helped by higher prices and upmarket beers. The shares rose 24.5p to 3259.5p in morning trading.