Comic relief boosts Spitfire sales at pub group Shepherd Neame

THIRST for Spitfire ale has handed pub operator and brewer Shepherd Neame a rise in six-month sales in 2012, despite its pubs suffering from an exceptionally wet period.

The Kent-based company, which operates 353 pubs in the south east including City favourite the Old Doctor Butler’s Head, posted a 2.6 per cent rise in turnover to £69.2m, while profits stayed flat.

The company’s chief executive Jonathan Neame, a descendant of Percy Beale Neame who founded the landlord in 1877, is now looking to boost exports of its key brands, such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger ales.

“Our performance reflects the underlying strength and resilience of our business as we have invested consistently,” Neame said.

Shepherd Neame has signed up comedy duo Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller to reprise the RAF pilot roles from their TV sketch series to promote Spitfire.