THE owner of Tennent’s lager, C&C Group, has said it is “cautiously optimistic” that a gradual recovery is underway in the hospitality sector in its core markets of the UK and Ireland as restrictions imposed amid the pandemic are eased.

In an update on trading the Dublin-based group noted: “While still in the early stage of reopening in our core markets, we have been encouraged by the way in which trade has recovered in the UK since the gradual reopening from April 2021 and in Ireland from 7 June 2021 as outdoor hospitality reopened.”

The group added: “Following the progressive easing of restrictions since April and the partial recovery in the on-trade, C&C recorded a modest trading profit in May, with this improving further in June.”

However, it noted restrictions remains in place in the UK and Ireland and the timing of further easing remains uncertain.

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“The full reopening of hospitality in the UK was recently delayed by four weeks and is now anticipated over July and August 2021, whilst the reopening of indoor hospitality in Ireland has also recently been delayed, with a revised date yet to be announced,” said the group.

C&C was hit hard by the closure of pubs and other hospitality outlets during lockdowns in the last financial year. Its brands also include Magners cider.

In May the group reported an operating loss of nearly €60m (£50m) for the 12 months ended February 28, citing the unprecedented impact of the pandemic.

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In January C&C took a minority stake in Scottish beer producer Innis & Gunn.

The company’s beers are brewed at C&C’s Wellpark Brewery in the East End of Glasgow, as well as its Inveralmond Brewery in Perth.