Suffolk-based brewer and pub company Adnams has seen pre-tax profit fall by around 10% to £2.8m for the year to 31 December 2010.
Operating profit at the firm remained flat at £3.2m for the period, thanks to a stronger second half of the year.
Sales were down slightly to £50.9m from £51.3m in the previous year.
Jonathan Adnams, chairman of the company, which has around 70 pubs, said: "I am pleased to report an operating profit of £3,188,000 which while slightly below 2009's £3,238,000, shows a strong second half, given that our operating profit was 10% behind 2009 at the half-year."
"Over many years Adnams has been building its brand and reputation and extending it beyond our core business in brewing and pubs but these markets remain key and again it has been very tough in 2010. 20% less beer is consumed in the UK than was consumed six years ago, and the reduction is 30% when looking just at drinking in pubs."
Adnams said that pubs and brewing would continue to be difficult markets, but praised its "hard working, committed and talented group of licensees".
The company also said its hotels had a "difficult time" in 2010, particularly in periods of poor weather. And it added that although its two Southwold hotels, the Swan and Crown, operate a "well-established and robust businesses, they were not immune to the tougher trading". May last year also saw Adnams enter into a contract with the Holkham Estate under which it has assumed the management of the Victoria hotel at Holkham and the Globe inn at Wells.
The past year also saw Adnams open a microdistillery producing gin and vodka in an old brewery house, and an anaerobic digester at its site in Reydon.
Adnams sounded a note of caution over the state of the economy for 2011. "As it turned out, 2010 was a steady year for the economy as a whole, but it looks as though we may see tougher times in 2011, starting with the VAT increase to 20% at the beginning of the year and with the prospect of substantial public sector cutbacks," he said. "Nonetheless, Adnams believes itself to be well placed. Our balance sheet and brand reputation are strong and we have the team in place to grow, develop and innovate."
By Neil Gerrard
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