Scottish Neame, the oldest brewery in the U.K., which dates back to 1698, has recorded a rise in pre-tax profits by almost 5% to £14.4m ($18.7m). Sales in Shepherd Neame’s managed pubs and hotels increased 4.4%. CEO Jonathan Neame, family descendant in the fifth generation, attributes the record profit to the company’s focus on lesser but higher quality pubs: "The number of pubs we’ve got is reducing and has been for a while, [but] the average throughput and the average experience of our pubs has been increasing."
Last year Shepherd Neame disposed of 13 pubs and bought three new ones, leaving the brewery with 328 pubs, of which 61 are operated directly by the brewery and 267 are rented out. Total production of Shepherd Neame, which was founded in 1698 in Faversham, Kent, is about 210,000 brewers' barrels (344.000 hectoliters) a year.