St Austell Brewery has reported a 6.1% increase in annual turnover to a record level of £179.6 million in the 52-week period to December 30, 2018 and an operating profit of £13m.

Non-executive chairman, Will Michelmore (pictured), said: “The business continued to build for the future in 2018 with £13.5m capital expenditure invested in our pubs as well as in opening our new Hare Brewery, producing Bath Ales.

Will Michelmore

“The underlying business remained strong in 2018 with turnover increasing by 6.1%, with the strongest growth coming from wholesaling and national sales. However, the operating profit, at £13m, was 6.2% lower than 2017, which reflected the additional operating costs faced by our industry, changes to our sales mix, plus the ongoing investments we are making to put in place systems and infrastructure that will support our sustainable long-term growth.”

Chief executive, James Staughton, said: “Our pub business returned a solid performance, with the managed pubs seeing a 2.3% like-for-like sales increase. Wet like-for-like sales increased by 5%, while food remained level, reflecting the particularly hot weather in the summer and some of the wider challenges in the eating out market. Our tenanted and leased pubs remain a key part of our business and experienced like-for-like net income growth of 2.9%.

“I am encouraged to report that our own beer volumes increased by 5.1% in 2018, with on-trade volumes up 2.8% and the off-trade up by 10.3%. 2018 was a particularly good year for Proper Job IPA cask, which grew by 17.9%, and for Korev lager, which saw volumes increase by 11%.

“The first new beer to be launched from the Hare Brewery was Bath Ales Sulis lager, a 4.2% English lager, which secured listings in over 300 outlets in its first six months of production.”

He added: “Our strategy remains unchanged and we will continue to invest for the long term, focusing on the creation and development of high-quality beer brands, developing our people, and growing the scale and quality of our pub estate through selective acquisitions and continued investment.”

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