Brick Brewing has reduced its decline in beer volumes in a stronger first quarter for the Canadian brewer.

In a statement, the company said that beer volumes had decreased by 4% in the quarter compared to the same period last year, largely due to reduced can volumes. This decrease is less than the 14% decrease in beer volumes that occurred in the previous quarter.

Net revenues increased 7% to C$7.3m, compared to $6.9m in the same period last year. EBITDA was $363,000, compared to a loss of $771,000 in the first quarter of last year, an improvement of over $1.1m. In the quarter, there was a net loss of $108,000 compared with a net loss of $898,000 for the same period last year.

"We are encouraged by our first quarter results," said Jim Brickman, executive chairman and founder. "In this traditionally slower period, we have managed to reduce the decline of our beer volumes and in addition, supplement our core business with profitable co-pack volumes."

Brickman added: "We are also seeing the positive effects from our aggressive initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. To be successful and prosper on a sustainable basis, we must seek to become the most cost efficient, high quality producer possible."

In the first quarter the company's cost of producing and distributing beer decreased by $379,000 due to improved efficiencies compared to the first quarter last year.

Selling, marketing and administration costs decreased by $667,000 in the first quarter over the first quarter last year, due primarily to reductions in ongoing overhead expenditures and reduced public relations spending this year compared to the first quarter last year.

However, brewing material input costs increased by $333,000 in the quarter compared to last year.

The combined effect of these was that the per unit cost of producing and distributing beer decreased by 1% or $46,000 in the quarter compared to the first quarter last year.