Adnams reports 39 per cent increase in spirits sales and profits despite slow first half of 2015

Francesca Washtell
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From Malted Barley To A Of Barrel Adnams
Adnam's established its brewery in Suffolk in 1872 (Source: Getty)

Spirits sales lead the way at the Suffolk-based drinks company Adnams as it recovered from low turnover in the first half.

The figures

The brewer, distiller and retailer posted a rise in operating profits of 7.3 per cent, reached £4.1m. The company's pre-tax profit reached £4.72m, up from £4.44m in 2014. Because of its rise in operating profits, Adnams is recommending a 5.9 per cent hike in its final dividend.

At the half year turnover was behind three per cent 2014 levels, but this improved in the second half of the year, leaving the company 0.5 per cent short of the 2014 figure. Sales reached £65.7m, from £66.0m in 2014.

In addition to strong growth for Ghost Ship and its range of craft beers, Adnams spirits volumes were up 39 per cent.

Why it's interesting

Adnams beer sales were largely flat against last year, but just about bucked the trend of the wider market which fell by 1.5 per cent in 2015, however, beers brewed by smaller producers continued to grow. In 2015 Adnams saw beer growth level with 2014 figures, so it seems to benefiting less from being a craft beer producer (small brewers were 0.8 per cent ahead of last year), but with whopping growth in its spirits sales it is outpacing its traditional beer stronghold with craft distilling.

What Adnams said

“I am pleased to report the company made good progress in 2015, the economic mood was reasonably buoyant and a cut in duty rate for the third year running was a welcome announcement in the budget. Ghost Ship has remained in strong growth, as have our newer range of kegged, canned and bottled beers which fit well into the vibrant and growing UK craft beer market. Our investment into the Brewery and Distillery continues, and this development will ensure we have the flexibility and capacity to meet the demands of the changing beer market. Our spirits have become an integral part of our business, and we’re delighted to have trebled our capacity with the addition of two new stills," chairman Jonathan Adnams said.

In short

Despite starting as a brewer, Adnams had more success as a craft distiller in 2015.

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