Brewer and pub operator Adnams has warned that it is likely to report trading for the first half of the year down on the same period last year.

In an update at its AGM yesterday the group blamed weaker trading conditions and the cost of investing in the brewery and new central systems.

The group said that in the first quarter of 2018 it had continued to grow beer volumes and these were towards 5% higher than in the first quarter of 2017. Spirits volumes were up by approaching 30%. However, it said these rates were a little slower than in many recent periods and reflected what had been “quite a challenging quarter for some parts of the business”, adding: “The poor weather that we saw in March was a particular challenge for our pub and managed inns business.”

The company aid: “We have focused on our cost base in this quarter and initiated some important savings, though these will mainly affect periods beyond the first half year. We are expecting a first half result behind 2017 on the back of the less good trading conditions and the costs of completing our investments in the brewery and in implementing new central systems. As we have grown the retail side of our business, notably hotels, shops and managed inns, our profit has shifted towards the second half of the year and we anticipate a stronger second half to 2018.”