By James Atkinson

Lion's quarterly beer volumes were down 2.8 per cent for the quarter ended 31 December 2012, which the brewer said was an improvement on the annualised volume decline of 4.6 per cent. 

While the beer market remained challenging over the period, Lion said that with volume from new international premium and craft brands now included in its portfolio, volumes increased 14 per cent. 

"Improvements in mix from resulting portfolio premiumisation, as international premium and craft brands were added, and a consistent performance from Lion's pre-existing portfolio increased revenues 26.3 percent to $634.9 million," the brewer said on Friday.

Lion said Corona Extra recorded its strongest performance to date, gaining a share point and growing ahead of the category during the quarter. 

It said James Squire and Little Creatures continued to flourish, both growing volume ahead of the category and increasing volume share. 

While Victoria Bitter reclaimed its sport as the country's number one beer in February and March, Lion said XXXX GOLD held its position as the largest beer brand in the country on an annualised basis, "both during and since the conclusion of the quarter". 

Contemporary brands Hahn Super Dry and XXXX Summer Bright Lager both grew volume and share in the quarter.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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