St Peter’s Brewery, the Suffolk brewer, has reported a sharp rise in full-year profits on the back of an 11.2% increase in turnover to £4.1m, despite not reaching expectations for supplying the UK pub trade. Pre-tax profits grew 162% to £161,839 and operating profits were up 120% to £187,730 in the year to 29 February. Chairman John Murphy described the year as “one of steady progress in spite of relatively challenging market conditions”. He said its bottled ales “continued to perform well in major UK supermarkets” and export sales were “also strong, particularly to Russia, the US and Canada, and Scandinavia but to a further 30 markets besides”; turnover from outside the UK and Europe topped £1m for the first time, up £246,040 to £1.07m. “However, we did not make the progress we had expected in the supply of cask and keg beer to the UK pub trade, partly because our additional brewing capacity was needed to meet bottled beer requirements but also because our sales and logistics partners in the draught beer sector found price competition there to be particularly strong and were unwilling to trade margin for volume. “Increases in sales in this sector remain, however, a priority.” Production increased from 13.896 to 16,445 hectolitres, so there was less reliance on contract brewing. However, Murphy said the main benefit this was in flexibility and control rather than financially. He said the current financial year has “started well, with beer sales year-to-date 14% above the previous year and overall sales, including the Jerusalem Tavern [in London’s Clerkenwell, its only pub] and other retail sales 10% above last year. “However, the world economic outlook seems to be deteriorating so this performance may be difficult to maintain. “As we have just installed a further tranche of new production capacity and plan to operate this only with a small increase in staff numbers, we are doing our best to make progress in difficult times."