Brewer Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM) raised its full fiscal year guidance this morning, giving an initial lift to competitors Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE: BUD) and Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP) that quickly faded for the larger brewers.
Boston Beer now raised its earnings per share (EPS) forecast from a range of $3.80 to $4.20 to a new range of $4.30 to $4.60, well above the consensus EPS estimate of $4.21. The company attributed the increase to higher shipment volumes and the timing on payments of some administrative expenses.
Depletions growth, a brewer’s term from how much brew leaves the warehouse on its way to eager drinkers, is currently running 11% to 13% higher than a year ago. And while Boston Beer did not provide a fiscal year 2013 EPS estimate, the company expects depletions to rise between 10% and 15% again next year.
Craft Brew Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: BREW), with a market cap an order of magnitude less than Boston Beer and barely a rounding error for Anheuser InBev, has gained nearly 5% today, following the Boston Beer announcement. Neither of the big brews has a gain to show for today. The divergence could indicate that the U.S. is regaining its taste for craft beers to the detriment of the big brands like Budweiser and Coors.
Boston Beer is up more than 15% today at $131.75, and reached an all-time high of $134.00 earlier. The previous 52-week range was $94.24 to $128.07.