Budweiser’s sponsorship of this summer’s World Cup has helped the US beer brand to a 40% rise in volumes over the past three months.

AB InBev announced a 1.3% rise in UK beer volumes for the period in its first-quarter update, led by Budweiser.

Volumes fell elsewhere across Europe, down 9% in Belgium and 5% in Germany, but cost savings from the 2008 merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev meant pre-tax profits rose by almost a third (31%) to $191m.

Last month the brewer unveiled new premium lager brand Bud 66, which it claimed would lure drinkers back from cider and spirits.

AB InBev UK president Stuart MacFarlane said the UK performance represented “a great result in a challenging environment”.

“It’s no secret that we are operating in challenging industry and market conditions, exacerbated in the UK by record beer duty increases,” he said.

“In this context, I’m especially pleased with the results we achieved in the UK, where our own beer volumes outperformed the industry, where volumes declined 3.5%.”

He added: “Budweiser has grown volumes over 40% for the quarter, highlighting the impact of our strong brand support and offering a glimpse of what’s to come as we head into the World Cup season.”

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