USA: Boston Beer Co. with disappointing outlook for 2017

Boston Beer Company's shares fell more than 5 percent after the company reported weak fourth-quarter results and a disappointing outlook for this year. Net revenue for the 53-week period ended December 31, 2016 was $906.4 million, a decrease of $53.5 million, or 6%, as the company reported on Wednesday. Year-to-date 2017 depletions through the six weeks ended February 11, 2017 are estimated to have decreased approximately 15% from the comparable weeks in 2016. Full-year 2017 depletion and shipment change is now estimated between minus 7% and plus 1%.

Jim Koch, Chairman and Founder of Boston Beer Co., commented, "We are disappointed with our depletion trends in 2016, which have remained weak so far in 2017.  These trends are affected by the general softening of the craft beer category and cider category and a more challenging retail environment with a lot of new options for our drinkers.  New craft brewers continue to enter the market and existing craft brewers are expanding their distribution and tap rooms, with the result that drinkers are seeing more choices, including a wave of new beers in all markets.  We were particularly disappointed with the performance of the first of our new spring seasonal beers, Samuel Adams Hopscape.  We are introducing later this month our second spring seasonal, Samuel Adams Fresh as Helles, a bright Helles lager with orange blossom and also releasing a refreshed Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, featuring a new packaging design and a new recipe with experimental hops that create a more tropical and piney IPA.  We are also executing the national rollout of Rebel Juiced IPA in bottles and cans in the first quarter of 2017 to complement the national draft release in the fourth quarter of 2016.  We believe that the history, authenticity and quality of the Samuel Adams brand, our unique beers, and our ability and willingness to continue to invest behind our brand position us well for future growth and we are committed to improving our current trends."                                                     

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