Brewer and pub operator Fuller, Smith & Turner has warned that the difficult economic climate could hit trading for a "considerable" time – but still reported a profit rise.
Fuller's half-year profit rose 11 per cent to £15.7m.
But the planned VAT rise and government spending cuts continued to overshadow the market, the company said.
Total beer sales rose one per cent, with Fuller's premium brand, London Pride, increasing its market share.
Revenues for the half-year rose four per cent to £121.5m.