Carlsberg profits held steady by non-alcoholic and ‘craft’ beer brands

Brewing giant Carlsberg’s profits were held steady thanks to rapid growth in its non-alcoholic and “craft” beer brands, and premiumisation in Asia.

 

Like many brewers Carlsberg, which owns brands such as Turborg and Kronenberg, sold more beer in the summer moths in Europe thanks to a combination of the World Cup and an extended heatwave. Net revenue rose to by 6.4% DKK 62.5 billion (£7.4 million), while operating profits grew organically up to DKK 9.3 billion, up 11% from 2017.

While premium beer brand volumes rose in Britain over the course of 2018, overall volumed dipped 3%. Carlsberg’s total beer volumes have fallen by just over 8 million hl since 2014.

Alcohol-free beer performed well in western Europe, with volume growth of 33%. The Danish beer giant launched its first-global non-alcoholic drink, Birrel, last year. The brand was launched in Poland and Bulgaria in May.

The brewer said public feedback has been “positive” for the new brew, already taking up 15% of the alcohol-free beer segment.

The low ABV category offers “excellent” profit margins, according to the firm’s latest financial statement.

‘We believe it will remain an attractive beverage category in the years to come, as it benefits from the growing health and wellness trend amongst consumers.

Carlsberg also worked to expand its footprint in China over the past year. “By the end of the year, we were present in more than 20 large cities,” it said, “where the response to our international portfolio has been very positive.”

The news comes as a number of global breweries such as Heineken have extended and refreshed their low-alcohol ranges to cater for growing demand.

More than half of Brits who took part in a OnePoll survey last year said they have at least tried a non-alcoholic beverage, while 52% also said that non-alcoholic beers have become more socially acceptable in the past two years.

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