Substantial investment in marketing in the core South African market have helped SABMiller, the world's second largest brewer, to a 2.6 per cent increase in volumes in the third quarter.
In a statement, the company said that good weather and a more stable consumer environment had also helped improve sales in the third quarter, one of the most important during the year because of the key December/Christmas period.
"Year-to-date volumes are now up some 1 per cent over last year," the company said. "The good weather also helped ABI [the South African soft drinks unit] deliver third quarter volume growth of 5.9 per cent, with year-to-date growth of 6.9 per cent.
"Reported earnings from all the South African businesses for the nine months are ahead of prior year, assisted by improvement in the rand/dollar exchange rate during the third quarter."
Outside the group's home market, the Miller brewing business in the US saw its volumes decline compared to the same period a year earlier, falling 3 per cent in the six months since Miller's acquisition by SAB. The company said it was continuing to focus on a wide range of business areas and initiatives designed to improve the US performance.
Competitive pricing pressures and a difficult economic environment continued to affect results from Central America, SABMiller said, but there was good growth in European volumes, which grew by 11.6 per cent in the quarter.
"The key brand performance for the quarter has been pleasing, with [Czech beer brand] Pilsner Urquell up by 13.5 per cent domestically and Miller Genuine Draft volumes in Russia almost doubling," the statement said.
SABMiller has 115 brewing operations in 24 countries across Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, North and Central America and Asia.