Boston Beer has seen its Samuel Adams volumes decline

Boston Beer has seen its Samuel Adams volumes decline

The Boston Beer Co is looking to a new style of IPA to kickstart Samuel Adams sales.

The brewer will launch New England IPA next year after testing it in Boston over the past couple of months. The beer is an East Coast IPA and different in character to the West Coast IPA, one of the most popular styles in US craft beer. 

Speaking to analysts this week, Boston Beer founder & president Jim Koch said East Coast IPA is the "hot craft beer style right now", but that consumers are finding it difficult to track down. 

"It's almost like a unicorn," Koch said. "You hear about it, but you can't find it." 

Koch said other craft brewers are set to bring out New England IPAs, but that so far it has been limited to very small breweries because of shelf-life and stability issues.

He said Boston Beer was excited by the style, which he said has a "unique" set of flavour characteristics.

"New England IPA is quite different," Koch said. "It's visually different because it's hazy. It has a big, almost juicy hop character taste and aroma instead of the kind of dry bitter taste that a West Coast IPA brings to the party."

Boston Beer is looking to innovations to revive its core Samuel Adams beer brand, which has seen volumes slump over the past few quarters. In year-to-date results, the company adjusted its year-end forecast as volumes fell 6%, driven by losses for Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard.

Last month, Boston Beer announced the launch of Sam '76, a new Samuel Adams extension due to roll out next year. Sam '76 contains both lager and ale yeast strains, and this week Koch described the beer as a "whitespace" within the craft beer category.

"You have the flavour and aroma of an ale, and then you have a very clean lager finish," Koch said. "It's unusual, perhaps unique, in that it uses both ale and lager yeast together in this sort of tag team symbiosis that leverages the capabilities of both of those yeasts."

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