Foster's is now selling more wine than beer, the giant Australian company announced today.

The 114-year-old brewer, which owns Foster’s and other of the world’s best-selling beers, major Australian wine producer Mildara Blass, and Napa’s Beringer, previously announced it was taking more revenue from wine than from beer.

Now figures for the 12 months to June 2002 show wine sales have outstripped beer sales. Foster’s took AU$1.93bn from wine, and AU$1.74bn from beer.

CEO Ted Kunkel said the company would continue to make strategic ‘bolt-on acquisitions’ to consolidate this.

‘In wine, the smart bolt-ons will continue,’ he said, but added there were no purchases being considered at the moment. He also said he would expect cashflows to rise by 10% over the coming year.

Economist Richard Gibbs at the McQuarrie Bank in Sydney told the BBC Australian wine consumption was growing both domestically and abroad.

‘We are seeing in Australia in excess of 5% per annum growth in terms of wine consumption. We are seeing even higher rates in the UK for Australian wines, and in the US,’ he said.

Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies 27 August 2002