Q1 cheers Boston Beer

Q1 cheers Boston Beer

Boston Beer has raised its profits forecast for 2010 after reporting strong demand for its beers in the first quarter of the year.

Sales by volume for the three months to 27 March rose by 19% to 454,000 barrels, Boston Beer said yesterday (5 May). The gains drove the US-based brewer's net sales up by 16% for the quarter, to US$94m.

Net profits rose to $6.3m versus $4.9m in the same period of 2009, which prompted the firm to raise its full-year profits guidance for 2010. Earnings per diluted share are expected to hit a range of $2.65 to $2.95, compared to a previously forecast range of $2.35 to $2.65.

"Since the end of the first half of 2009, we have seen an improvement in the trends of our brands," said Boston Beer's president and CEO, Martin Roper.

However, he said that the Samuel Adams beer brewer expects volume sales growth to slow during the rest of the year.

"We continued to increase our investments in media advertising and our sales force during the quarter, and we remain prepared to forsake some earnings in the short term in order to make appropriate investments in brand-building activities to position us well for future growth," he added.

Scope for beer price rises remains limited due to relatively high unemployment amid economic uncertainty in the US. The firm said that it plans to increase prices by up to 2% during 2010, but warned that "there can be no assurances" that it will achieve this.