Portugal game win-win for S&N

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SCOTTISH & Newcastle hailed the unique prospect of a two-sided gain from tomorrow's World Cup quarter-final between England and Portugal - as a leading drinks trade body said drinkers consumed an extra nine million pints during England's three group games.

S&N is Britain's leading brewer, while it also sponsors the Portuguese national side through its leading brand in that country, Sagres.

A spokesman for S&N, whose main brands are Kronenbourg 1664, Foster's, John Smiths and Strongbow, said: "We are actually quite pleased as we are also France's leading brewer and so have an interest in three of the eight quarter-final teams.

"It was also not too far away from being four, with Australia just failing to make it [S&N's Foster's is the leading Australian brand outside Australia].

"In addition, a substantial part of our staff in the UK are English. There has obviously been a big increase in drinking during the tournament, particularly when England have been playing, so you can definitely say S&N is in favour of tournaments like this."

S&N does not have any hard figures available yet. But the spokesman said: "All drinks company boats are likely to rise with this tide. When there is a big increase in drinking, and that appears to be the case, then everybody benefits."

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said: "We are still getting feedback, but we estimate that on average an extra nine million pints of beer were sold during each of England's three group games [against Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden]. We estimate that has translated industry-wide into an extra 90 million in turnover over the three games as a whole."

This trend is expected to accelerate on Saturday, when England's game against Portugal kicks off at 4pm British time - and when the weather forecasts are for exceptionally high temperatures in Britain.

The BBPA spokesman said: "It is obvious that watching the World Cup in the pub is a big part of the enjoyment of the tournament for lots of punters. There has been a significant increase in drinking over the first three England games."

A spokesman for real-ale pressure group CAMRA agreed. "We are getting a lot of anecdotal evidence that the World Cup has been really good for the pub industry," he said.

"In England, people are flooding through the doors, and they get more interested the farther England progress."