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By: Kevin Stankiewicz@kevin_stank

Boston Beer shares soared over 18% to a new all-time high Friday, one day after the maker of Samuel Adams and Truly hard seltzer reported third-quarter earnings and raised guidance.

The stock closed Friday’s session at $1,091 apiece, adding to its major run so far in 2020. Shares of Boston Beer are up almost 190% year to date.

 

The company on Thursday posted third-quarter earnings per share of $6.51, surpassing Wall Street forecasts of $4.63, according to FactSet. Revenues of $492.8 million represented a 30% increase from the same quarter last year but missed analysts’ expectations of $519.5 million.

Boston Beer projected its strong momentum will continue in the fourth quarter and into next year and hiked guidance accordingly. The company said it now expects shipments and depletions, which measures products sold from distributors to retailers, to be up between 37% and 42% in 2020. Previous forecasts anticipated an increase of between 27% and 35%.

The strength of its hard seltzer brand Truly so far this year was the primary reason for the raised outlook, the company’s president and CEO, Dave Burwick, said in a release.

“Truly is the only one of the leading seltzers to actually gain share this year, partly I think because of very successful innovation,” Boston Beer co-founder and chairman Jim Koch said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “We launched the first hard seltzer lemonade, which has a lot of flavor. It kind of amped up the flavor game, so we’ve actually been growing share, even as dozens of competitors have been pilling in.”

Boston Beer also is forecasting shipments and depletions to grow between 35% and 45% in 2021. That came in above Wall Street’s projections of a roughly 30% increase, according to analysts at Jefferies.

 

The analysts, who have a $575 price target on the stock, said in a note they were keeping their underperform rating due to competitive risks in the red-hot hard seltzer category and their belief shares are “priced for perfection.”

Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained their hold rating on Boston Beer’s stock but raised their price target to $996 from $835. In a note to clients, the analysts described the company’s quarter as “relatively mixed,” noting that revenue was lighter than expectations.

However, they said the bullish forecasts from management supported higher earnings in 2021. They also expect margins to improve as pressures from the coronavirus pandemic wane.


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