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Craft Brewers earnings soar

Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. reported a fourfold increase in earnings as the Portland-based craft beer maker improved margins and completed the $16.3 million sale of its stake in Fulton Street Brewery LLC.

Craft (Nasdaq: Hook) reported a second quarter profit of $8.1 million on $44.8 million in revenue, or 43 cents per share. That compares to second quarter profit of $1.7 million on $39.6 million in revenue, or 10 cents per share, one year ago.

The company reported $8.2 million in net income on $73.8 million in revenue for the first half of the year, compared to $1.9 million and $64.7 million in 2010.

Craft said it shipped 191,100 barrels in the second quarter, an increase of 11.8 percent from one year ago.

Craft’s financial results were “significantly” impacted by its merger with Kona Brewing Co. Inc., which closed Oct. 1, 2010, and by the sale of its equity interest in Fulton Street Brewer during the second quarter to its distribution partner Anheuser-Busch Inc.

Craft sold its 42 percent interest in Fulton Street for $16.3 million, including $15.1 million in cash and $1.3 million held in reserve. As part of the deal, Anheuser-Busch amended its distribution agreement with Craft to improve its operating margins.

Craft Brewers brews Widmer Bros., Redhook and Kona Brewing-branded beers at its breweries in Portland, Woodinville, Wash., Portsmouth, N.H., and Kialua-Kona, Hawaii.

Company shares closed at $6.28, up 53 cents or 9.22 percent. Its 52-week range is $5.31 to $10.17. At its current share price, Craft Brewers has a market cap of $118.2 million.