Boston Beer Co. CEO Dave Burwick is to retire in April after six years at the helm of the US brewer.

Michael Spillane, a member of the board of directors, will succeed Burwick as chief executive and president from 1 April.

The Samuel Adams brewer said during Burwick’s tenure as CEO, “Boston Beer’s revenue more than doubled and its stock generated average annual returns of 12%”.

“I’ve known Dave for 19 years, and he’s had a tremendous impact on our company – first as a board member and for the last six years as our CEO,” Boston Beer founder and brewer Jim Koch said.

“We’ve grown from $850m in revenue when he began as CEO to more than $2bn in revenue with a portfolio of powerful brands in attractive categories today.

“He’s built a strong and deep leadership team and he’s positioned the company very well for ongoing success in 2024 and beyond.”

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Burwick said it was the “right time” to move on as “momentum is building”.

“Boston Beer has a unique and powerful culture and I’m confident the company is in great hands to take advantage of the opportunities ahead,” he added.

Spillane said: “After nearly eight years on the Boston Beer Board – and as a native of the Boston area – I’m thrilled for the opportunity to help advance Boston Beer’s long-term goals as we enter a new growth phase.

“I am grateful for Dave’s leadership and partnership and I’m looking forward to working with Jim and so many other great people at Boston Beer to build on the strong foundation and culture that Jim, Dave and all of our coworkers have built over the course of four decades.”

The Samuel Adams brewer announced the leadership change alongside its full-year and fourth-quarter results for 2023 where it reported an adjusted fourth-quarter loss per share of $1.49.  Revenue also came in lower than anticipated at $393.7m, missing the consensus estimate of $413.8m.

Net revenue fell 12% year-on-year for the final 13 weeks as the company also booked a net loss of $18.1m, compared to a loss of $11.4 the previous year.

The company said: “Fourth-quarter revenue was negatively impacted by a $5.1m international sales tax adjustment. Excluding this impact, net revenue decreased 10.9% on a reported basis and decreased 1.9% on a 13-week comparable basis.”

The group made an operating loss of $25.9m in the fourth quarter, compared to $16.8m the year before.

Depletions decreased 9% in the fourth quarter while shipments fell 12.2%, reaching around 1.5 million barrels. The company has suffered depletion declines across its beer and hard seltzer portfolio for several quarters.

For the full 12 months, net revenue sank 3.9% to $2.01bn while net income improved to $76.3m, up from $67.3m in 2022. Operating income was up from $90.8m to $100m.

Depletions for the full year declined 6%, with depletions on a 52-week comparable basis down 5% from the year prior, “primarily due to declines in Truly Hard Seltzer and the company’s beer portfolio”.

Shipment volume for the full year was approximately 7.7 million barrels, a 6.2% decrease from 2022. On a 52-week comparable basis, shipments decreased 5.2%.

Boston Beer has forecast a “down low single-digit to up low single-digit” percentage change for its depletions and shipments next year. It guided price increases of 1% to 2% for 2024 and gross margin of 43% to 45%. In 2023, gross margin of 42.4% rose from the 41.2% gross margin in 2022.

Shares in the brewer fell 11% in aftermarket trading yesterday (27 February).