Adnams, the Suffolk brewer, pub operator and distiller, has reported that difficult trading conditions exacerbated by continuing poor weather summed-up its first quarter. It said that the bad weather had a particular impact on its hotels, tied pubs and free trade beer business. Overall the sales of its own beers were in line with those made in 2012, and marginally ahead of the UK market. The company said this was driven by good growth in sales for home consumption. It said: “We continue to support our tied estate and free trade customers by holding Adnams beer prices for the fifth consecutive year. We completed the sale of The British Grenadier, Colchester during March and The Oyster, Butley in April and have seen good interest in two other pubs that we have currently for sale. “Some good news occurred at the time of the budget when the government finally scrapped the beer duty escalator and made a 2% cut in duty rates. This is a small but important step towards reversing the damage that the 42% duty increase since 2008 has had on our industry.” The company said that turnover in its shop retail business had been similar to 2012, but with a lower cost base it is seeing some improvement in the bottom line result, despite the fact that sterling has weakened against the euro during the first few months of 2013. It said: “We are cautious about the outlook for 2013. As our profit tends to be weighted towards the second half of the year, our interim result can be more variable and it is our expectation that our operating profit in the first six months of 2013 will not match that made in 2012. The beer market remains in a difficult place with total first quarter volumes down by 2.9% and pub volumes down by 5.5%. Given all the uncertainties, it is difficult to predict the full year result.”