Releasing results for the 12 months to the end of February, the Irish drinks group, whose other brands include Bulmers cider and Heverlee and Menabrea beers, said net revenue had jumped 18.4 per cent to just under €1.7 billion (£1.5bn). Operating profit leapt 75.6 per cent to €84.1 million as the business continued to recover from the worst of the pandemic.
C&C said that with Covid lockdowns and restrictions out of the way, fresh challenges emerged during the year, including higher inflation and strikes in the UK, which impacted the hospitality sector. However, it said Glasgow-brewed Tennent’s - viewed as a core brand - had performed strongly, with volumes up 4.8 per cent in the year including 25.8 per cent in the on-trade. Among “mainstream” beer brands, Tennent’s represents two in every three pints poured in the on-trade, and across all beer it represents one in every two pints poured in the on-trade. Bosses said investment behind the brand also continued to drive “positive brand health scores”.
Patrick McMahon, chief executive of C&C Group, said: “Set against a challenging backdrop in [the year], C&C delivered an improved performance against all financial measures. Increased balance sheet strength and inherently strong free cash flow characteristics have enabled C&C to return capital to shareholders through the reinstatement of dividends.”
Greg Johnson, an analyst at brokerage Shore Capital, noted: “We believe that there is a lot to like in C&C, with leading brands and the unique proposition of a distribution-led model.”
Meanwhile, one of Scotland’s oldest beer brands - Belhaven Best - has unveiled a new look to celebrate its 300-plus years of brewing history. The makeover was undertaken by specialist creative agency Thirst and showcases the brand’s “authentic provenance”. Belhaven has produced beers at its home near Dunbar since 1719. The centrepiece is a barley sheaf with outstretched awns doubling as sunbeams framed by the two famous chimneys of the original Belhaven brewery. The rebrand will be backed by a full launch campaign.