Pyramid Breweries has announced that sales for the third quarter of 2006 stood at US$15.8m, a 10% increase on the year.

The increase was attributed to increased shipment volume of 16% for core brands including Hefe Weizen and Apricot Weizen beers, the US craft brewer said.

Net income for the quarter was $130,000, compared to $439,000 a year ago, taking into account a $700,000 excise tax assessment from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, announced last month, and a $415,000 gain on the sale of the brewery equipment during the third quarter of 2005.

The TTB audit, which resulted in the $700,000 payment, had reviewed the company's contract brewing arrangement with Portland Brewing Co. The bureau asserted that Pyramid, and not Portland Brewing, had legal control of the Portland brewery facility for purposes of federal tax laws and consequently had underpaid excise taxes on beer produced there between January 2005 and May 2006.

Pyramid Breweries CEO Scott Barnum said: "Our Pyramid brand family volume increase of 16% for the third quarter compared to the third quarter a year ago, and 21% volume growth year-to-date over the last year is especially encouraging since we exceeded a very strong year in 2005. With the TTB settlement behind us, we are eager to build on the momentum generated by our consumers' preference for our award winning beers.

"We continue to outperform the craft beer category with our core Pyramid brand, led by our flagship Hefe Weizen which has had year to date volume growth of 18%."

The company said that the solid growth of its beer business is enabling the brewer to improve its financial performance and outlook.