Brewer, Boston Beer Company reported first quarter net income that fell 63%, due to an increase in advertising and promotional on the back of the Sam Adams Light launch. This was despite a gross sales increase to US$50.5m from US$46.2m a year ago.

In a statement the brewer said: "The company continues to evaluate new Samuel Adams media campaigns to grow its core Samuel Adams Boston Lager business and to invest in the sales and support of its seasonal programme."

The company expects total 2002 shipments to increase to about 1.25 million to 1.35 million barrels from 1.1 million a year ago. And total brand support investment for fiscal 2002 will be between US$80m and US$95m. The company's brand support investment totalled US$68.6m in 2001.

Jim Koch, chairman of The Boston Beer Company, said: "The first quarter 2002 was very exciting as it was the largest first quarter for depletions in Company history. We significantly increased brand support spending and were rewarded by high single digit growth, primarily driven by our Sam Adams Light initiatives.

"While this high investment level caused a decrease in financial earnings for the quarter, we believe that longer term the potential increased volumes should allow us to grow both earnings and brand support spending."