Big Rock Brewery posts higher sales, volumes in 2020 despite COVID 19 pandemic woes

Big Rock Brewery Inc. is reporting what it calls its strongest results in seven years in 2020 despite higher damaged and obsolete inventory losses and a huge drop in keg volume sales as bars and restaurants were restricted or closed due to COVID-19 measures.

The Calgary-based craft brewer, which also has breweries in Vancouver and the Toronto region, says it had a net loss of $700,000 last year on revenue of $44 million, an improvement over a net loss of $2.9 million on $42.7 million in revenue in 2019.

The reduced loss came despite taking a $1.5 million one-time, non-cash charge in the fourth quarter as a result of a suspension of its Ontario brewing and packaging operations due to market conditions.

Read more: Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery eliminating jobs as part of ‘immediate cost-cutting measures’

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Big Rock says sales volumes increased slightly in 2020 to just under 17.3 million litres and its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $5.1 million, compared with an EBITDA loss of $1.1 million in 2019.

CEO Wayne Arsenault says the company capitalized on opportunities in its wholesale channels to make up for its exposure to the retail market where keg sales volumes dropped by 55 per cent.

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Big Rock says it also expanded its ready-to-drink offerings, an area that promises more growth going forward.

“As the corporation exits a challenging 2020 with its best results in seven years, the turnaround strategy has been validated and is now shifting to growth beginning with the recently announced $8.8-million capital plan and credit facility expansion,” said Arsenault.

The capital plan announced last month is focused on enhanced packaging capabilities at its Calgary facility, information technology and digital transformation projects and maintenance capital.

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