St Austell Brewery has reported a return to profitability in 2021 as it makes a strong recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

St Austell bar serve

Despite all its pubs and hotels being closed for the first four months of the financial year, the business reported an underlying operating profit of £11.3m in the 52-week period to 1st January, January 2022. The company’s annual turnover increased by 33% to £156.6m.

Non-executive chairman, Will Michelmore, said: “Due to lockdown and pubs remaining closed, the financial year started under a cloud of uncertainty, although we continued to supply our beer brands to supermarkets nationwide at record trading levels.

“It’s very encouraging to report that, once pubs were able to re-open, we managed to enjoy strong trading results. This will stand us in good stead for 2022 and beyond, as we look to build on our solid foundations and release the full potential of the business.

“Whilst we know there will continue to be significant headwinds, we are confident that we have the leadership, the team, the assets, and the strategy to ensure our future success.”

‘Unprecedented levels of demand’

Chief executive, Kevin Georgel, said: “Although our 2021 results were impacted by lockdown at the start of the year, we went on to experience unprecedented levels of demand in the South West, particularly during the first four months after pubs reopened.

“Therefore, our main challenge for the remainder of the year was maintaining supply to meet this demand, whilst continuing to deliver a positive experience for all of our customers. This challenge was made even more difficult by the national labour shortage and failings within the supply chain.

“In this context, we are extremely proud of our teams across the business for overcoming every obstacle and achieving such strong results. I am confident that as we move forward, we have emerged better placed to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.”

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He added: “We entered 2022 in a much stronger financial position, with a clear strategic direction that will enable us to unlock our potential. We have significant headroom in our available funding, which will allow us to invest in growing the business, whilst pursuing fitting acquisition opportunities.

“We are continuing to invest in our pub estate, which is well positioned to take advantage of emerging consumer trends, and our beer business is delivering significantly improved returns as we curate a brand portfolio that’s fit for the future.

“Critically, we are also committed to continued investment in recruitment and the development of our people. Attracting talent to our business and releasing the potential of our teams is more important than ever.”

 

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