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Total on-premise biz might have just started to see slow climb back to overall health, but new locations and some easy comps lifted Q4 results for one of biggest US brewpub chains. BJ's Restaurants booked total rev gain of 9.1% for fiscal yr 2014 after 4th qtr revs up 7%. But co got much bigger profit jump by shaving a little here and there off costs and getting added benefit of not incurring big one-off costs as it did during end of 2013. Full-yr net income popped 30% to about $27.4 mil. BJ's went from operating at loss of about $2.2 mil in 4Q13 to operating income around $11 mil for final qtr of 2014. Fourth qtr net income zoomed from about half a million bucks in '13 to almost $8.3 mil last yr. BJ's closed out 2014 with 156 restaurants, adding another 11 thruout the yr, 3 in the final qtr alone. That's fewer new outlets than it opened the yr prior (helping lower costs). But the co has aggressive plans. It's opened 2 more already in 2015 (including one near our office in the suburbs of NYC) and with "national capacity for at least 425 BJ's Restaurants, we…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2015
  • Volume 6
  • Issue # 15
Fuller picture of Boston Beer now available shows some serious changes to the company since just 2010: big jumps in sales force and employees as well as exports and volume/distribs in the Freshest Beer Program. Craft brewers regularly refer to importance of having "feet on the street," particularly for key on-premise piece of the biz. Well Boston's invested heavily here and grown its sales force from about 275 in 2010 to 330 in 2012 and 410 by the end of 2014, up almost 50% in 4 yrs. Its total employee-count has swelled too: +70% to 1325 since 2010. In that time, the co's total shipments grew about 80%. Boston's been shipping more of its beer across borders too. It exported just 1% of its beer volume in 2010. That grew to 3% in 2012 and then to 4%, about 100K bbls last yr. Its total distributor network slimmed down a bit, based on its full-yr filings, from about 400 in 2010 to 350 in 2014 (consolidation explains much of this). Of those wholesalers, 121 that distributed 68% of Boston's volume last year participated in the co's Freshest Beer Program, which aims to cut down on inventories and time it takes…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2015
  • Volume 6
  • Issue # 17
Craft segment keepin’ up growth pace to start new yr, as dollar sales up 20%, vol up 16% yr-to-date thru Jan 25 in IRI multi-channel + convenience data.  Segment’s up another 1.1 share of $$ to just over 8.  Most cos right where they left off too.  Boston Beer (including cider & tea), New Belgium, Sierra and Deschutes $$ sales each growin’ high-teens, like they’ve been the last handful of mos. Boston Beer and NBB trendin’ slower than 2014, whereas Sierra and Deschutes have picked up at end of 2014 and into 2015. On other hand, Sam Adams Boston Lager took tuff hit to start off yr, -10%, steeper than it’s been in memory. Gambrinus (+10%), Craft Brew Alliance (+5%), Lagunitas (+59%) round out top 5.  Stone (+41%) and SweetWater (+50%) trends both picked up a bit, while Bell’s slowed to +13%.  Dogfish (+20%) and Duvel USA (+3%) trends stayed roughly the same.  Lagunitas IPA Passes Torpedo; SweetWater IPA Cracks Top-30; IPAs Over 1/4 of Craft Sales  Lagunitas IPA $$ sales up 60% plus again in Jan. That put $$ sales (not volume) ahead of Sierra’s Torpedo for first time, to become the #1 selling IPA and #6 craft brand…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2015
  • Volume 6
  • Issue # 11
Looks like all that big brewer, small brewer and political pressure on pricey proposed spent grains rules paid off.  FDA has deemed that making brewers comply with “additional redundant animal feed standards…would not make common sense, and we’re not going to do it,” sez FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Michael R Taylor in released statement.   “We have no intention to discourage or disrupt it,” he added after praising the “recycling of human food by-products to animal feed,” and noting “potential for any animal safety hazard….is minimal.” Michael gave glimpse of scope of this issue.  “To add to the picture, spent brewer and distiller grains are only a subset of a much broader practice…one industry estimate is that 70 percent of human food by-product becomes food for animals.” Recall, 1st comment period for proposed rule to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) ended just a few weeks ago, where FDA heard from many “trade groups and members of Congress, as well as individual breweries (and farmers) raising concern.”  Revision to the proposed rule will be posted later this summer, prompting a 2nd comment period before rule is finalized.  “We understand how the language we used in our proposed…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2014
  • Volume 5
  • Issue # 32
Craft $$ sales up 16.3% in Portland IRI foodstores yr-to-date thru 3/30 while total beer $$ up 6.8% overall.  Portland mkt off to a very healthy start in 2014. But with craft’s continued outsized growth in its most developed mkt, craft jumped 3.8 share of $$ to 45.8.  Craft now bigger than Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors combined. They are down to 40.6 share of $$ in Portland foodstores. Down another 2.1 share, even tho their $$ sales up 1.5% each here.  MC at 23.7 share of $$ in IRI foodstores, off 1.2, and ABI down to 16.9, lost 0.9 share.   Portland mkt is currently tough for all larger suppliers, including craft. Each of top 6 suppliers in city lost share of $$ (in descending order: AB, MC, CBA, Deschutes, Crown and Pabst) and lost 3.9 share collectively.  Craft Brew Alliance off to rough start. Its $$ sales down 13% and it lost 1.4 share of $$ to 6.2.  Deschutes $$ sales up just 0.7% and it lost 0.4 share to 6.1.  Who’s comin’ on? Boston Beer doubled again.  Up 99.8% and gained 1.6 share of $$ to 3.5.  But that’s likely mostly Angry Orchard. Cider mkt in Portland is…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2014
  • Volume 5
  • Issue # 31
The Oct 2 letter from 5 US Senators to US Atty Gen Holder warning against proposed AB InBev purchase of Modelo, and Reuters' recent follow-up article, make some pretty stark claims about the pending purchase. Deal would "extend [ABI's] market share leadership" in US, give ABI "increased leverage to reduce competition" by "enhancing ABI's ability to either acquire more" wholesalers or "pressure" independent distribs to sever relations with "rival brands," i.e. craft, the letter charges. Ultimately, consumers would face less choice and higher prices, the Senators also suggest. Their concern "motivated" by ABI execs' statements about distrib loyalty in recent yrs. Letter points to comments from a yr ago at AB distrib mtg where AB execs stressed distribs should focus on ABI brands and laid out notion of "anchor wholesalers." Senators describe anchors as "partners that have agreed to limit or cease distribution of rival brands." Letter also quotes ABI ceo Brito from 2d qtr conference call this yr saying ABI expects distribs to devote "most of if not all of their share of mind" to AB brands. ABI's attempts to prevent distribs from "associating freely" with competing brewers "strikes at the heart of competition" in US beer, they advise.…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2012
  • Volume 3
  • Issue # 58
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