Pyramid Breweries has lowered its full-year net loss, despite a "disappointing" final quarter.

The US-based wheat beer producer said yesterday (5 March) that net loss in the year to the end of December came in at US$488,000, against a net loss of $1.6m a year earlier. The improvement was driven primarily by the sale of the TK Soda brand in January last year, for $2.4m.

Sales for the year slipped, however, to $48.2m from $50.3m, although operating loss came in at $331,000 from $1.4m a year earlier.

For the three months to the end of December, net loss hit $1.8m from $1.2m in the corresponding quarter a year earlier, with sales slipping slightly to $11.5m from $11.7m.

"Our fourth quarter beer volume was up and we held or improved market share in virtually every one of our western (US) markets except one, Washington," said company CEO Scott Barnum. "While this 'home market' softness was common to many of the large regional players in the west, we were particularly disappointed with our overall financial performance.

"Because of our continued high priority commitment to achieving bottom line profitability and the significant cost increases in our raw materials, we are making considerable changes to fundamentally improve our financial performance," Barnum added.

Part of this approach will include "targeted staff reductions", the company said, affecting about 11% of the salaried workforce. This reduction is set to complete at some point this month.

"We need to take these measures now to realign our cost structure, sales capabilities and focus. The actions are prudent and forward-looking but significant. This realignment is specifically tailored to help us continue our sales momentum in the West yet provide a clear path to sustainable profitability," Barnum concluded.