CANADA: Value beer boosts Brick Brewing

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Brick Brewing saw sales leap 24% during the third quarter of the year, buoyed by Canadian beer drinkers' continued demand for economy brews.

The Ontario-based brewer yesterday (13 December) posted net revenue of C$8.6m (US$7.5m) for the three months to 31 October. Net income leapt 51% to C$1.03m, the company added.

Jim Brickman, executive chairman and founder of Brick Brewing, said: "The sustained shift in consumer demand toward value beer continued to drive strong growth. The value segment appears to have staying power and the Laker brand family has become a leading participant in the category."

Nine-month net revenue was up 37% to C$23.8m, while net income over the same period jumped 88% to C$3.1m, the company added.

Canadian beer drinkers have increasingly been snapping up low-priced brews, a trend that has hit sales of brewers like Sleeman Breweries, whose stable is skewed towards premium brands.

Brick Brewing said that for most of the quarter demand for its products had outpaced production, leaving inventories at retail outlets "below optimum levels". The company said a 100,000-square-foot central warehouse in Kitchener had been completed during the quarter, and a packaging line is to open at the new facility next spring.

The company added that Ontario's provincial government had increased the minimum price of beer to C$26.40 for a case of 24 bottles, a move that would give the brewer "enhanced price and margin stability in the future".

Sectors: Beer & cider

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