Boston Beer has Soft First Quarter

Boston Beer Company announced an increase of 6.5% in volume shipments in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the same period a year ago. Distributor sales to retail (depletions) were down however by 1.4%, signaling a soft quarter for the largest craft brewer; and a heft inventory in distributors warehouses.

Net revenue was strong, up by 9.1%, driven by the increase in shipments and a 2.5% price and package mix related increase.

.In a company press release, Jim Koch, Chairman and Founder of the Company, commented, “While we are pleased with our earnings growth, we are somewhat disappointed with the first quarter depletion results. January proved to be a difficult month for us as well as the entire industry, but we saw some improvement in the remainder of the quarter. In early March, we introduced our new brand communication and believe that it capitalizes on the roots and essence of Samuel Adams’ success. We are excited by this new campaign.”

Shipments and orders in-hand suggest that core shipments for April and May 2005 appear to be up approximately 1.0% as compared to the same period in 2004, according to the press release.