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KITCHENER – Brick Brewing posted a fourth-quarter loss, in part because of bonuses it paid for its improved performance during the past fiscal year.

The Kitchener-based beer maker and bottler of Seagram coolers lost $308,665 in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31. It lost $97,016 in the same period a year earlier.

Net revenue, a sales figure that excludes production taxes and distribution fees, increased to $8.1 million from $7.3 million.

The company noted that the fourth quarter included a bonus provision of $400,000 “due to the increase in profitability.” No bonuses were paid in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

For the entire fiscal year, Brick reported net income of $729,033, up from $656,588 a year earlier. Net revenue increased to $35.8 million from $34.1 million.

Earnings excluding interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and share-based payments (EBITDA) came in at $4.5 million for the year, a record.

“This strong financial performance is the product of a stable base business on the Laker family of value beers bolstered by the double-digit growth of Waterloo Brewing Co. and Seagram,” Brick said Thursday in a news release.

The company said volumes in its Waterloo Brewing Co. division, which includes Waterloo Dark, Waterloo Amber, Waterloo IPA and Waterloo Pilsner, increased 30 per cent in the year ended Jan. 31; its Seagram coolers volume jumped 14 per cent.

“Waterloo Brewing Co. and Seagram are high growth, high profit businesses that hold tremendous promise for our road ahead and are the focus of our growth efforts,” chief executive officer George Croft said.

In the fourth quarter, volumes of Waterloo Brewing brands rose 38.9 per cent compared to a year earlier, while Seagram cooler volumes increased by 21.6 per cent.

The volume of products Brick packages for other beverage companies – business it calls co-pack – grew by 43.4 per cent.

Overall, Brick’s beer volume declined by five per cent in the fourth quarter. The company said brands that were not supported by media advertising contributed to the decline.

It said that to counter the decline, it started adding a bonus can in specially marked 12-packs of Laker Lager, Laker Ice and Laker Light during the third quarter.

Brick makes beer in breweries in Waterloo and Formosa, Ont., blends and packages Seagram cooler and co-pack beverages in Formosa, and packages and distributes products out of a distribution centre in Kitchener.