GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) _ Adolph Coors Co.'s profit fell 47.9 percent in the third quarter due primarily to a special charge for reducing the work force. Excluding the charge, its earnings would have risen 19.9 percent.

The results announced Thursday slightly exceeded Wall Street expectations.

The brewer earned $9.1 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, in the three months ended Sept. 27 compared with $17.4 million, or 46 cents a share, during the same period of 1997.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $499.4 million from $489.5 million a year ago.

The earnings results were depressed by a $19.4 million charge before taxes for the costs of a previously-disclosed severance program for hourly empoloyees in Golden and some salaried workers.

Without unusual items, Coors would have earned $20.9 million, or 56 cents a share, up 19.9 percent from a year earlier.

That was 2 cents a share above the 54 cent average that analysts surveyed by First Call Corp. had expected. In trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, Coors closed up 12 1/2 cents a share at $51.37 1/2.

The company sold 5.57 million barrels of beer during the quarter, a 0.5 percent increase from the 5.54 million barrels during the same period in 1997.

``The third quarter capped a solid summer selling season for Coors,'' said Peter H. Coors, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Coors Brewing Co.. ``We continued to grow unit volume, revenue per barrel and profitability in the quarter.''

For the first three quarters, Coors reported net earnings of $58.4 million, or $1.56 per diluted share, compared with $76.5 million, or $2.01 per share, in 1997. Revenues for the first nine months were $1.46 billion compared with $1.41 billion for the same period in 1997.