Buoyant Adnams warns on foot-and-mouth

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Adnams has warned that it may have to "trim its sails" because of the impact of the foot-and-mouth crisis.The Suffolk brewer said trade at its rural...

Adnams has warned that it may have to "trim its sails" because of the impact of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The Suffolk brewer said trade at its rural pubs and hotels might fall short of targets for the first six months of this year.

It celebrated a 17 per cent increase in sales of its own beers, which include its session Bitter and premium ale Broadside, in 2000.

Annual operating profits for the company were up 11 per cent to £2.53m while pre-tax profit edged up by nine per cent to £2.24m.

Chairman Simon Loftus said: "The dreary weather had little effect in 2000, even on our pubs and hotels, but this year is a different story with the impact of the foot-and-mouth epidemic spreading far beyond the hard-stricken farmers and into every area of country life.

"It is too early to tell how serious those effects will be but it is likely that we may fall short of our targets for the first half of the year, with the hotels and rural pubs in particular suffering from loss of trade.

"We shall of course keep the situation under constant review and trim our sails accordingly where we can do so without retarding the momentum of our business."

Mr Loftus said the beer business "stormed ahead" on the back of the success of its rebranding exercise, with increased marketing support.

He attacked the government over last year's fuel crisis, accusing it of "political mismanagement" which cost Adnams "a great deal of money".

He also called for more consistency in regulation after the government dropped the cap on brewers' ownership of pubs introduced in the Beer Orders 10 years ago.

"That apparent change of heart was completely at odds with the decision a few weeks later to veto Interbrew's takeover of Bass," Mr Loftus said.

"At one moment big brewers are good, at the next they are bad. Both decisions were surprising, and in any case what our industry needs, more than anything else, is a consistent regulatory framework and clear parameters in which to operate."

Related stories:

Jennings warns on impact of foot-and-mouth (6 April, 2001)

Foot-and-mouth crisis spreads to hotel and pub group (9 April, 2001)

Old English Inns warns of impact of foot-and-mouth (27 March, 2001)

Related topics: Beer

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