Brewer warns beer drinkers of soaring price increases

A brewing giant has warned consumers it is facing the worst inflation in decade and it 'may lead to softer beer consumption'

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Brewing giant Heineken has warned it is facing the worst inflation in a decade and that drinkers could cut back on beer as a result.

The Dutch brewer said it will raise its prices in an effort to offset higher costs, including sharp increases across commodity costs, energy and shipping.

The company, which also brews Amstel and Birra Moretti, however warned that price rises “may lead to softer beer consumption” as shoppers face an increased cost of living.

On Wednesday, Heineken delayed publishing guidance over its financial performance for 2023 until later this year as spiralling inflation casts a cloud over its potential outlook.

It came as Heineken reported that net revenues increased by 11.3% to 21.9 billion euros (£13.4 billion) in 2021, while its net profit jumped by 80% to two billion euros (£1.7 billion).

Beer volumes increased by 4.6% over the year, with this buoyed by a 6.2% rise over the final three months as it benefited from reduced restrictions in Europe.

Sales of its Heineken-branded beer were particularly strong, increasing by 17.4% against levels from 2020.

In the UK, the firm also highlighted strong sales of Birra Moretti but witnessed decreased volumes of cider, which were particularly impacted by the closure of pubs for large parts of the year.

Dolf Van Den Brink, chairman and chief executive of the company, said: “We delivered a strong set of results in 2021 in a challenging and fast-changing environment.

“Looking ahead, although the speed of recovery remains uncertain and we face significant inflationary challenges, we are encouraged by the strong performance of our business and how the EverGreen strategy is taking shape.

“This gives me confidence we are on course to deliver superior and balanced growth to drive sustainable long-term value creation.”