Shepherd Neame, the 300-year old brewer, has held its own in a difficult market, according to figures issued today.
The Faversham company that brews ales such as Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Master Brew and foreign beers under licence, reported that sales rose by 1.7 per cent to £101.7m in the 12 months to June 28.
This was in spite of the smoking ban, higher taxes, rising input costs - up 45 per cent - and declining consumer spending because of the credit crunch.
Although Spitfire draught sales fell, bottle sales grew. Other beer sales held up well, and Asahi Super Dry, a Japanese beer brewed under licence, saw sales rise 11.2 per cent.
Miles Templeman, company chairman, said: "This has been a very challenging year for our industry.
"There has been a sharp downturn in economic activity and consumer confidence in the UK, particularly in the final quarter of our financial year."
"Our performance has nonetheless been resilient and compares will against a record result in 2007."
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