At Waterloo Brewing we are driven to win, and there is no better place to compete than the Ontario beer market. There are now over 250 breweries operating in Ontario, plus 76 virtual breweries and another 92 breweries in the planning stages -not to mention two massive global brewers. Succeeding in this hyper-competitive market is a daunting challenge, yet we are doing precisely that.
We finished our year with $49.8 million in revenue (+10.2% versus the previous year) and EBITDA excluding 1X costs of $9.0 million, continuing a five-year trend of strong financial performance. These outstanding results made it possible for us to offer an increasing dividend – the only Canadian craft beer stock to do so. Our record of growth and outperforming the industry is based on a strong and diverse portfolio of compelling brands and the winning spirit of our brewery.
Our Waterloo family of craft beers grew by 10% with the support of redesigned packaging and a more attractive brand identity. Effective and timely responses in pricing and pack formats propelled our flagship Laker family of beers to grow by 7%, despite tremendous competitive activity in value beer. Landshark and Margaritaville, the newest additions to our brand portfolio, achieved growth of 45%. We also have two hard cider offerings in Seagram Cider and Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider, all of which combine to make Waterloo Brewing a formidable competitor in all major segments of beverage alcohol aside from wine and spirits. And we’re not done yet by any stretch.
At the heart of the winning spirit of Waterloo Brewing is to seek out new ways to matter more to our drinkers and earn their business every day. That motivation, that compulsion to innovate, will ensure that our brewery remains at the forefront of where the category is going. As Ontario’s First Craft Brewer we are committed to innovation and leadership, and will pursue relevant new markets with equal zeal and fiscal responsibility.
These ambitions are made possible on a foundation of aggressive cost management. We are now a single-source facility after five years of necessary consolidation and all that effort is proving to have been worth the effort. Our co-pack business has grown by 28% - on top of 20% growth the previous year – which further contributes to scale and efficiency. The addition this year of our new, high capacity canning line will yield further productivity and cost savings.
We could not possibly succeed without the reliable support of our shareholders, and hope we are constantly giving you reasons to believe in our ambitions for this business and evidence of our progress.
George H. Croft
President and CEO