Bulmers is hoping that consolidation of the UK brewing industry will give it an opportunity to boost its beer distribution business. In particular, it should benefit from the fallout from Interbrew's recent purchase of Whitbread and Bass. Bulmers' beer division is still relatively small. It has the rights to Amstel and San Miguel, which have been doing well, Red Stripe, which hasn't, and DAB, sales of which are static. Managing director Tim Furze said: "The challenge is to have bigger brands in the portfolio. We have four ­ one big, two medium and one small ­ and I would like five big scale beers." Bulmer is already believed to have been approached by a number of companies. Last year's acquisition of independent drinks wholesaler The Beer Seller gave Bulmer access to 16,000 on-trade outlets and will be an important part in plans to strengthen its UK position. At the same time, Bulmers is keen to boost its overseas earnings, and recently bought American Hard Cider Co. This, plus Bulmers' desire to be a bigger player in the UK beer market, has prompted speculation it may be looking to do a deal in brewing. Bulmer is also benefiting from its efforts to kick some life back into the stagnating UK cider market. And in the year to April 28, its turnover was up 6% to £335m and pretax profit rose 14% to £28.4m. {{NEWS }}

Topics