Suffolk brewer and pub owner Greene King is toasting a healthy rise in profits and sales despite the poor summer weather.
Greene King's real ale brands have proved popular
It reported pre-tax profits after exceptional items up £7.1m to £42.7m ($82.2m) in the 24 weeks to 17 October.
Total sales rose 22% to £314.4m as Greene King's real ale brands such as Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen proved popular with drinkers.
However, the firm warned that the outlook for 2005 was uncertain.
Greene King's results were boosted by the addition of 432 extra pubs in August.
The firm bought the outlets - some of which used to be owned by Whitbread - from the Laurel Pub Company, boosting its pub estate to more than 2,000 outlets.
Like-for-like sales rose 2.1% across Greene King's managed pub estate while trading profit at its tenanted pubs rose 8%.
The brewing business also flourished and saw its trading profit rise 8%.
"While the outlook for consumer spending in 2005 is unclear, we have a thriving brewing business and a well-invested high quality pub estate," said chief executive Tim Bridge.
"We feel well placed to continue to trade successfully."
However, Greene King's shares were down 43p at 1260p in afternoon trading due to fears about the effect that weaker consumer spending may have on trading.
Analysts also said Greene King's shares had outperformed the stock market this year and that investors were using this opportunity to take profits.