Big brewers toast the reopening of bars as sales recover—but your next round may cost you

The fizz is back in the profits of the world’s biggest brewers as bars and restaurants in many parts of the world reopen with the easing of COVID restrictions, but rampant inflation in everything from barley to aluminum could put a squeeze on their margins through this year and the next.

Carlsberg is the latest big brewer to report a recovery in its business after a rough year in which the pandemic forced the closure of pubs, clubs, and hotels in many countries and even led South Africa and Thailand to temporarily ban alcohol sales.

Carlsberg said Wednesday its revenues grew by 10% in the first half to just under $5 billion, while net profit rose 6% from a year earlier, and it forecast that operating profit for the whole of 2021 would grow by between 8% and 11%, higher than the previous 5% to 10% target.

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