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Anheuser-Busch InBev fizzes on Stella boost from drinkers

ANHEUSER-BUSCH InBev, the world&rsquo;s largest brewer, yesterday beat analyst forecasts for its second-quarter profit, after sales of its key lager Stella Artois jumped.<br /><br />The brewer said the launch of the lower strength Stella Artois four per cent beer and a new sixties-style marketing campaign had won customers back with a near seven per cent rise in volumes between April and June.<br /><br />AB InBev said beer was &ldquo;resilient&rdquo; in the face of the global economic slump, although the industry has seen consumers trading down to cheaper brands and opting to drink at home instead of the pub.<br /><br />The group said that UK sales volumes grew by 6.6 per cent in the second quarter and by 3.7 per cent in the first half. The company said group second-quarter volumes fell by 1.1 percent, against expectations for a 1 percent drop.<br /><br />After InBev&rsquo;s $52bn takeover of American brewer Anheuser Busch, the group said it had made cost savings of $315m in the second quarter of 2009.<br /><br />The group posted profit between April and June of $1.07bn (&pound;648m), a 28 per cent rise on the $836m booked in the same period the year before.