Irish people are drinking more Guinness

But sale growth has fallen flat around the world...

Guinness owner Diageo has published a strong set of results for the half year to the end of 2016.

The group recorded a more than 14% rise in global sales during the period to £6.4bn (€7.5bn) while operating profits were 28% higher at just over £2bn (€2.36bn).

In Ireland overall net sales rose by a more modest 1%, the group’s premium spirits saw double digit growth, while net sales of core Guinness beers were 3% higher.

It reports that this was boosted by strong sales of its Hop House 13 lager and the expansion of its 'Brewers Project.'

Diageo notes that Guinness "net sales were broadly flat" around the world and that sales fell in Africa.

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, commenting on the results said: "We have delivered a strong set of results with broad based improvement in both organic volume and top line growth and this positive momentum demonstrates continued effective execution of our strategy.

"Highlights this half include improved performance in our US Spirits business and across our scotch portfolio, driven by our focus on marketing with impact, innovating at scale, expanding our route to consumer, and winning in reserve. Progress on productivity supports growth, margin improvement and consistent strong cash flow generation as well as improving our agility.

The group employs some 32,000 people in 80 countries around the world.