Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the second half of March, the Boston Beer Company reported a continuation of impressive growth in first quarter 2020 with a net revenue of $330.6 million, or 31% from the same period last year and an increase in shipments of 32%. Excluding the addition of the Dogfish Head brands beginning July 3, 2019, shipments increased 27.5% from the 13-week period in 2019.
Advertising, promotional and selling expenses in the first quarter increased $26.2 million or 36.5%, compared to the first quarter of 2019, primarily due to increased investments in media, production and local marketing, the addition of Dogfish Head brand-related expenses beginning July 3, 2019, higher salaries and benefits costs and increased freight to distributors due to higher volumes.
Jim Koch, Chairman and Founder of the Company, commented, “As the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary focus is on operating our breweries and our business safely and supporting our partners in the beer industry.” In a press release, Jim also discussed their efforts to support bar and restaurant workers. “We have established the Samuel Adams Restaurant Strong Fund and donated over $2.1 million to support bar and restaurant workers that have been impacted by pandemic-related closures in 20 states. In addition, we are a founding partner of Restaurant Relief America which is committed to helping restaurant industry workers experiencing hardship in the wake of COVID-19,” he said.
Much of the company’s growth comes from Truly hard seltzer and Twisted Tea. In the press release, Dave Burwick, President and CEO gave scant detail as to how the pandemic may impact revenue going forward, but did say, “it is not possible for us to estimate the amount of the new demand that is a temporary reaction to COVID-19. We’re in a very competitive business and we are optimistic for continued growth of our current brand portfolio and we remain prepared to forsake short-term earnings as we invest to sustain long-term profitable growth, in line with the opportunities that we see.”
See the full press release here.