What happened

Shares of Craft Brew Alliance (NASDAQ:BREW) jumped 22.8% in the month of May, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the beer brewer announced refreshing first-quarter 2017 results.

So what

Shares climbed 19% on May 4, 2017 alone, the day after Craft Brew Alliance told investors that quarterly net sales had climbed 13% year over year, to $44.3 million. That strength was driven, in part, by shipment growth for the company's popular Kona brand, depletions for which grew 14% during the quarter in spite of stiff competition in the space.

On the bottom line, that translated to a net loss of $0.09 per share, narrowed from a net loss of $0.17 per share in the same year-ago period. Analysts, on average, were expecting an even wider net loss of $0.12 per share.

Bottles of Kona beer.

IMAGE SOURCE: CRAFT BREW ALLIANCE/KONA BREWING. 

Now what

Craft Brew Alliance CEO Andy Thomas stated: "The substantial progress we made across many areas of our business -- from continuing Kona's double-digit growth and strengthening our local brands to expanding our gross margins while evolving our brewery footprint and reducing our wholesaler inventory days by a third -- provides tangible evidence that our strategy is working and beginning to bear fruit."

All things considered -- and despite its lack of profitability during the quarter -- this was a solid beat from Craft Brew Alliance. And that's a feat made even more impressive as competitors like Samuel Adams' parent Boston Beer struggle to find growth in this crowded market. Therefore, it was no surprise to see investors bidding up shares of Craft Brew Alliance last month in response.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Boston Beer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.