The US-based brewer The Boston Beer Company announced third quarter net revenue of US$55.5m, a 1.8% decrease from the 3rd quarter in 2002. The company said a 0.8% decline in shipment volume coupled with a 1% decline in net revenue per barrel, caused the fall.

The company said the decrease in shipment volume was primarily related to a reduction in shipments in Sam Adams Light which were higher during the third quarter 2002, as a result of the pipeline fill associated with the completion of the Sam Adams Light product launch.

The 1% decline in net revenue per barrel was due to a shift in the package mix towards kegs from bottles as the selling price per equivalent barrel is higher for bottles than for kegs. This shift is primarily due to the higher shipment volume of Sam Adams Light bottles during the third quarter 2002 product launch.

The company said it earned US$4.0m in net income for the quarter versus net income of US$362,000 for the same period last year as advertising, selling and promotion expenses decreased by US$7.1m or 24.3% compared to the prior year quarter, due to the high level of support for the launch of Sam Adams Light last year.

Jim Koch, Chairman of The Boston Beer Company, said: "We are encouraged with the positive trends in Samuel Adams Boston Lager and our Seasonal Brands, with the current quarter up slightly, which is a significant change from the downward trends experienced in the first half of 2003. The current TV advertising appears to be having a positive impact on consumer pull. We believe that our strategy to focus on total family growth, through continued investment behind the Samuel Adams Brand Family, is correct. We are also working on developing the optimal advertising program for Sam Adams Light. There remains continued opportunity for Sam Adams Light growth, and we are committed to investing behind proven campaigns to drive that growth."

William Urich, the chief financial officer said that he was expecting a decision by the arbitrators regarding the pending dispute with Miller Brewing Company sometime during the fourth quarter 2003.

The outcome of this arbitration may impact fourth quarter earnings, he said, as well as capital expenditures and operating costs ongoing in securing future reliable capacity.

"The exact economic details will not be known until the decision is received and its implications are analyzed. We currently expect to achieve our previous earnings guidance of double digit earnings growth over the $.62 earned in 2001," Urich said.