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Thirsty London office workers and record-breaking rugby fans lift Guinness sales

·1-min read
The return of the after-work drink and a move to premium brands lifted annual profits at Diageo (PA)  (PA Archive)
The return of the after-work drink and a move to premium brands lifted annual profits at Diageo (PA) (PA Archive)

Record Guinness sales at Twickenham and the return of after-work drinks for office staff have helped Diageo report annual operating profit past £4 billion.

The FTSE 100 company says the world-famous Irish stout now accounts of one pint of every nine pulled in the capital, helping it become the number two most popular beer in the on-trade in UK pubs and clubs.

Lavanya Chandrashekar, chief financial officer, told the Standard that the rediscovery of workplace socialising helped.

“Just being able to spend time with colleagues at the end of a long day has been something consumers have really enjoyed,” she said.

Drinkers moving away from wine and beer and into spirits to make more of their nights out was the biggest factor behind Diageo’s overall performance. Johnnie Walker led the way, with over 21 million cases of the scotch sold over the year.

But there are signs the gin boom may have peaked in the UK, at least. Diageo, the maker of  Tanqueray, said growth for vodka, rum, Baileys and scotch was “partially offset by gin”.

The move toward stronger and more expensive drinks -- which the FTSE 100 company calls “premiumisation” -- comes as people seek to make the most of their dwindling spending power at a time of runaway inflation. The trend helped Diageo lift its prices to “more than offset the absolute impact of cost inflation,” it said.

The the end of Covid restrictions boosted sales of Guinness on its home turf. A recovery in pubs and bars lifted overall net sales in Ireland by 71%.

Diageo’s shares gained 0.5% to 3786p in London on Thursday.

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