Fuller’s, the west London brewery that has been around since 1845, is jumping on the “craft beer” bandwagon that’s steaming through Britain right now.
Fuller’s put out a strong half year report on Friday, the highlights of what are:
- Pre-tax profit up 10% to £21.6 million ($US33 million);
- Revenue up 10% to £177.7 million ($US271.6 million);
- Sales growth of 5.6% in its pubs and hotels, not including new openings;
- and 1% growth in beer and cider volumes.
CEO Simon Emeny says in the statement: “We have had a strong first half with all areas of the business in growth, demonstrating the clear trading momentum underway in the business.”
What’s particularly interesting though is now Fuller’s, a traditional English brewery known for its cask ales, is getting behind the booming popularity of US-style craft beers and craft ciders in Britain.
In 2013 it bought Cornish Orchards craft cider company and last year the company bought a 51% in craft cider and pizza chain The Stable.
Fuller’s has also snapped up the UK distribution rights for US craft beer Sierra Nevada. This distribution deal has “helped to open new doors and give us access to a different customer base, which we have then capitalised on with the innovative craft range launched by our outstanding brewing team.”
In other words, get through the door with a bottle of Sierra Nevada and then slip a few bottles of Fuller’s beer into the deal once you’re in.
The beer Fuller’s is pushing is primarily is “craft lager” — Frontier. Launched in 2013, Fuller’s says volumes have doubled year-on-year and it is now launching the beer in small, 330ml can forms.
The brewery says:
We have recently launched the brand in 330ml cans – which has helped to take it to a whole new range of craft beer venues where it can be hard to keep a permanent tap listing for any brand. We have also launched two other brands in 330ml cans – Wild River and Black Cab Stout. Craft beer bars like cans because they are quicker to chill than bottles, are easily recyclable and look fantastic.
Until a few years ago a can of beer in Britain was by default 500mls and, also by default, the lesser choice. Bottles were said to be superior for taste and cans were seen as a little bit scummy.
But now cans are trendy, with street food festival organiser London Union stocking bars of US craft beer cans at is venues in London. And Fuller’s, a 170-year-old brewery, is changing with the times. It’s made sure its Frontier lager is stocked at London Union events like Dinerama and Hawker House to win over a new generation of beer drinkers.
Fuller’s shares are up just over 1% in London at 8.05 a.m. GMT (3.05 a.m. ET).
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