Boston Beer Rises to Record High on Jump in Cider Demand

Boston Beer Co., the maker of Samuel Adams lager, rose to a record high after better-than-expected demand for cider and seasonal brews prompted it to raise estimates for the year.

Boston Beer surged 16 percent to $131.94 at the close in New York, the highest value since Nov. 21, 1995, when its shares first started trading. The gain takes the Boston-based brewer’s advance this year to 22 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s SmallCap Consumer Staples Index has jumped 13 percent.

“Angry Orchard continues to surpass all expectations,” Judy Hong, an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, said today in a note. “We have underestimated the strength of the seasonals and Angry Orchard, which are trending much better than we estimated.” Hong retained a sell recommendation, citing today’s share increase.

Earnings for 2012 will rise to $4.30 to $4.60 a share, higher than the $3.80 to $4.20 the company previously forecast. Analysts predicted $4.24. Increased shipment volumes and the timing of some selling, general and administrative expenses led to the increase in the forecast, the brewer said yesterday in a statement after the markets closed.

Boston Beer began distributing Angry Orchard hard cider nationally this year after introducing it in some U.S. markets in 2011. Measured sales of the brand reached $13.6 million in the year ended Oct. 7 and it was the second-best selling cider in the last quarter of that period, according to Chicago-based market researcher SymphonyIRI Group.

Total depletions, a gauge of consumer demand, will jump as much as 13 percent this year and as much as 15 percent in 2013, the company also said yesterday. Boston Beer had estimated growth in the “high single digits” for next year.

The brewer said in November it had seen increased shipping volumes this year, helped by sales of cider and seasonal beers, which include Summer Ale and Winter Lager. Per-share earnings were $1.53 in the quarter ended Sept. 29, the company said last month. Analysts had predicted $1.35.

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