The Massachusetts brewer Boston Beer Company, Inc. has posted a 41% rise in third-quarter earnings per diluted share to US$0.41, on sales up 20.0% at $75.9m.

The Boston-based company attributed the revenue growth primarily to an 18.9% core shipment volume increase. Distributor sales of the Boston Beer brands to the retail sector increased by around 15%, the company said.

Net income for the quarter reached $5.9m or $0.41 per diluted share, up by $1.7m or $0.12 per diluted share from the same period last year.

For the nine months, earnings per diluted share rose by 0.19% to $1.10, while net revenues were up by 22.2% at $212.1m. Net income for the first three quarters of the year totalled $15.7m, or $1.10 per diluted share, an increase of $2.4m, or $0.19 per diluted share, from the first three quarters of last year.

"2006 has been an exciting year for Samuel Adams and the Craft beer category," said Boston Beer Company's founder and chairman Jim Koch. "Samuel Adams is the leading brand in the Craft beer category, which we believe is the fastest growing beer category in the United States."