Brewing giant SABMiller has said its sales growth in the UK increased as drinkers shelled out extra cash for premium imports.
SAB’s UK arm, Miller Brands, which sells brands such as Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzurro, reported that volume sales of its lagers had increased by 25% in the six months to 30 September.
The figures, which were boosted by the football World Cup during the period, reflect strong growth on the year to 31 March when volumes grew 14%.
The overall beer market may be in decline in the UK, but Peroni said it is in the “sweet spot” by offering strong, imported lagers, a part of the market that has recently been showing growth.
Cash-strapped consumers were increasingly upgrading to premium lagers as an affordable treat, it said.
SABMiller has reported global sales up 7% to 14.2 billion US dollars (£8.9 billion) and pre-exceptional pre-tax profits up 13% to 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) in the period, helped by strong demand from emerging markets.
Miller Brands now boasts a 34% share of the ‘world beer’ category in the UK. It had recently introduced a new brand, Czech import Kozel, to its range which also includes Czech Pilsner Urquell, Polish Tyskie and American Miller Genuine Draft.
Miller Brands managing director, Nick Miller, said: “Brands in the world beer category, such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, have proven extremely popular with the discerning 25-34 year old and are helping to challenge some of the negative stereotypes that have been associated with beer in recent years.”
The group, which was founded in 1895, has grown into a global brewing giant from its South African roots to operate on six continents.