Rising sales for town centre pubs and national beer accounts have given some cheer to Jennings Brothers.
The Cumbrian brewer revealed that foot-and-mouth disease continued to be "a big issue" for its rural pubs and its freetrade customers.
But it said its cask ales, such as Cumberland Ale, were up between March and June nationally outside of Cumbria, building on a 13 per cent uplift in the 22 weeks to March 3.
It also said its estate of 22 managed taverns, which are mostly in towns, increased sales by more than five per cent after recent investment.
Chairman John Rudgard told the company's annual meeting today (June 19) that its estate of 26 managed inns and 118 tenanted pubs were the worst affected.
He said: "Foot-and-mouth disease is still a big issue for that half of Jennings' estate situated in rural areas, particularly Cumbria, and for its free trade in Cumbria, despite actions taken by management."
Mr Rudgard has been campaigning for the Government to pump cash into helping rural pubs after the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, which has hit Cumbria and the Lake District particularly badly.
The company has also been hit by disappointing weather and declining tourism.
Last month, he said Jennings remained "positive for the longer-term underlying prospects for the business" because of investment in its pub estate and nationwide growth for its ales.
Jennings reported pre-tax profits of £3.2m for the 75 weeks to March 3, which included only a few days of the foot-and-mouth crisis. It compared with the previous accounting period of only 12 months, when profits were £1.9m.
Jennings demands public cash for rural pubs (May 17, 2001)