Brick Brewing Co. has seen its results flounder in the first half of this year.

The Canadian brewer, which is considering selling up, said yesterday (11 September) that the net profit in the first half of 2006 of C$1.1m (US$1.06m) was reversed this year into a C$615,000 loss for the six-month period. The loss came on the back of falling net sales in the half, which dropped to C$9.6m against C$11.3m a year earlier.

Brick also noted that beer volumes had slipped markedly in the second quarter, with volumes sold at The Beer Store (TBS), the industry's dominant distribution organisation, declining by 12% while volumes sold to LCBO outlets increased 16%.

"The contradictory sales patterns for our brands at the LCBO stores compared to TBS stores are highly instructive," said Doug Berchtold, Brick's president and CEO. "Our brands are outpacing the market at the provincially-owned LCBO stores. However, at TBS stores, which are owned by the national brewers, our sales are lagging.

"Clearly, we believe, the recent changes in the retail and marketing policies implemented at the TBS stores are having an adverse effect. To date, the company has been unable to persuade TBS or the Ontario government that these new policies unfairly disadvantage Ontario small brewers."

Berchtold continued: "Revenues for the balance of the year ending 31 January, 2008 are likely to reflect recent trends. However, we have implemented a series of targeted cost-related initiatives that are expected to result in a further reduction of selling, marketing and administrative expenses."

In May, the brewer said it was reviewing "strategic alternatives available to the company to enhance shareholder value". Among the options being considered are a sale, a recapitalisation review or "some form of business combination".

The brewer said yesterday that it will make a public announcement of the results of this review "at the appropriate time".