The Ontario-based Brick Brewing said yesterday that net sales for the first quarter of 2004 increased to C$4.0m compared to C$2.4mn for the same period last year.

The company said the 69% increase in the first quarter is a result of increased beer volumes due largely to the tactical pricing of its value brand portfolio.

Net income was C$149,000 compared to a loss of C$112,000 in the first quarter last year, an improvement of C$261,000 in the first quarter.

"Our first quarter was the first time in the history of Brick where a significant operating profit was recorded during the first three months of our fiscal year" said Doug Berchtold, president and CEO.

Jim Brickman executive chairman/founder added; "I am pleased to see the efforts of our initiatives implemented through the course of last year are beginning to materialise with very positive financial implications."

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased to C$450,000 in the first quarter compared to C$180,000 from the same quarter last year, an increase of 149%.

Berchtold said: "I am excited about the prospects for Brick in the coming fiscal year largely due to the various new initiatives already underway."