Boston Beer shares at record highs

The stock price of the Sam Adams brewer has soared 40% in the past 3 months.

By Kim Peterson Dec 7, 2011 12:43PM
Updated 4:50 p.m. ET

Boston Beer
(SAM) is doing everything right this year.

Take a look at its extraordinary stock run. Since the beginning of October, shares have soared 40% to close at $101.31 Wednesday. The stock price has never been this high.

Why is the maker of Sam Adams beer so hot?

Post continues below.
The beer industry has seen an unusual phenomenon since the recession of 2008. Even with high unemployment and tightened household budgets, beer drinkers showed a striking preference for more expensive craft beer.

Think of it this way. People don't have as much money to spend on entertainment. They aren't going to as many restaurants, concerts or sporting events. But if they have to stay home, they're at least going to do so with a beer that tastes good. So they'll pick up a craft beer as a small treat.

The trend is so apparent that even the large beer brewers are trying to develop their own craft-like beer -- or buy up craft breweries.  Budweiser maker Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD) bought craft beer favorite Goose Island earlier this year for $38.8 million.

Boston Beer knows full well the changing public tastes. So it's been ramping up production with new offerings for beer fans. This month, it began rolling out four limited-edition beers under the Sam Adams name. The brands -- Tasman Red, Third Voyage, The Vixen and Griffin's Bow, include the flavors of fruits and chocolate, Dow Jones reports.

For the third quarter, Boston Beer reported revenue had grown 8% from a year earlier. Profit rose slightly, but still beat analyst estimates.

"My real competition is ignorance and apathy," Boston Beer founder Jim Koch recently told Enterpreneur. "I'm about creating an appreciation of good beer, educating people about it and teaching them to treat it with respect. If I can do those things, I can succeed."

Related reading:

Sam Adams tasty in your portfolio?
Dec 7, 2011 2:39PM
image your full of it. Before Sam Adams, Americans had to go overseas to drink good craft beer. I have been all over the world, and Sam Adams is as good as any. Most Americans don't know good beer from piss water. It is buisnesses that started as home brews, like Sam Adams, that took Anheuser Bush out of the worlds leading selling beer category.
Dec 7, 2011 2:59PM

image1: "try 3 Hearted from Belles" Do you mean "Two Hearted" from Bells'? "Victoria Pilsner"? Would that be "Victory Pilsner"?  Just because those beers are good, if not great, beers, does not make Sam Adams "hardly a good craft beer". 


Is Sam Adams the best beer around? That's not a statement I'm prepared to make or defend.  They (Boston Beer) brew a wide variety of styles which are easily found and at a competitive price point.


If it wasn't for Jim Koch at Sam Adams (Boston Beer) and Fritz Maytag at Anchor Steam, I doubt highly that the American 'craft' beer scene would be anywhere near where it is today. Because of them, there is now a market for offerings from places like Dogfish Head, Bells, Victory, Troegs, Stone, etc.


You are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. If you don't like their stuff, don't buy it.  That leaves more Sam Adams Black Lager, Old Fezziwig, Holiday Porter, Noble Pils and Latitude 48 for me. 



Dec 7, 2011 3:26PM
Easy to knock Sam Adams in terms of their product as it compares to the more cutting edge craft brewers, but respect due to a trend setter who was making craft beer before it was cool and laid the foundation for what we have today. Not to mention Sam Adams can be a life saver at a restaurant with nothing but swill, most will at least have Sam Adams.

I am a huge Stone fan, just cracked on '06 Double Bastard and loved it, so I can go all hoity toity like some of you, but who am I trying to impress. Good for Sam Adams and all of us who enjoy good beer.

Dec 7, 2011 4:13PM
Hopnmad, your comments are way off base.  Take a look at and familiarize yourself with the different beer styles before you start slamming any brewery for their choice of ingredients.  European Noble Hops have a specific flavor profile that isn't mimiced by American hops.  You brew with the ingredients appropriate to style.  There are quite a few breweries that I prefer over Sam Adams, but they produce a quality product and in the late 80's they were the craft beer revolution.  They paved the way for breweries like Stone, Three Floyds, Bells, Lost Abbey, etc...  Talk to their brewmasters and you will hear gratitude towared Sam Adams, as well as others like Sierra Nevada and Anchor.

Hey, good for that guy that took his dream, his passion and a loan from his parents reluctantly and did something good.  Who cares if YOU like their beer and personally I don't so much.  But I can appreciate anyone that takes a passion and creates something from nothing. Great American success story and for that, not one person can take that away from him...If you try, you're obviously a type of person that is unhappy at others' hard work success...and jealous. Again, it's not about whether we prefer his product, but apparently many do.  Drink Corona... Mas fina cerveza con lima y sol. 

Dec 7, 2011 3:39PM

Craft bear enthusiasts are a loyal and interesting breed. Many of them sound like they are merely cheering  for their favorite sports team, instead of discussing the merits of fine craft beer making. Just look at these anti-Sam comments, made by those hawking there own interests.

To my mind, Sam is a great beer as well as many of those mentioned in previous comments. There is no need to slam one beer, just because you are loyal to your own. Show some respect for the craft!

A brewer of twenty plus years


Dec 7, 2011 5:20PM
I prefer Samuel L. Jackson.  It'll get you DRUNK!
Dec 7, 2011 5:50PM
Sam Adams is great because they produce good quality beer. More importantly it has also inspired many a beer drinker to go out on their own and make craft beers or try other micro beers. I make my own beer and drink various types of micro/craft beers. Horray Beer!
Dec 7, 2011 6:01PM

Tom Johnson:


Sams is a good line of beer and has been 1 of the leaders of the craft beer revolution, along with a number of others.  As far as Leinies goes, how can you call it a craft beer?  It has been owned by Miller Brewing company for some time now.  Until the Leinekugle family owns the business again, it will should not be considered a craft beer.  If you want a good Wisconsin craft beer, try New Glarus or Ale Asylum.

Dec 7, 2011 5:30PM
as a home brewer myself I applaud Sam Adams. for those of you slamming them for not using "american" hops... get a life, most of the hops available are from New Zealand anyway. Although Washington state does grow a lot too!
Dec 7, 2011 3:39PM
I don't know what East Coast Bias has to do with this.  It's an article on their stock prices.  How is Sierra Nevada doing?  If they have gone up 9% or more in the same time span, then you have a bias argument.
Dec 7, 2011 3:05PM
arrogant bastard ale by stone brewing in san diego.
are you worthy?

Dec 7, 2011 7:12PM

(SAM) is definitely NOT the AB of craft beers.

Boston Lager (really a Czech Polotmave) and Noble Pilsner (Bohemian Style & available seasonally) are probably 2 of the finest LAGERS in America and would stand muster even in The Czech Lands where they arguably make the finest Lagers in the world. They are so good that the Bavarians go on beer drinking sojourns to drink Czech beers Like the ones they USED to make in Bavaria. Kout na Sumava would be a good example.

As far as SAM not using American Hops in its Lagers, unfortunately, America doesn't really produce an outstanding Lager Hop yet. Mt Hood Hops can work well with Saaz (Zatec) Czech Hops however.

I agree that SAM is only so-so when it comes to Craft ALES. I fear that they will lose their focus on making truly world class lagers while they get sidetracked with the whole ale thing.

Folks, Ale is easy and fast to make. Lager is hard to make and takes a whole lot of time. We have a whole bunch of excellent Craft Ales in this country, but a dearth of great Craft Lagers except for SAM and Tupper's Keller Pils. Not to rain on the Victory Prima Pils, but that stuff is just a basic thin bodied single decoction modern German style Pils similar to a Warsteiner. If you want to know what a great Pilsner is without going to the Czech Republic, try a (SAM) Noble Pils.

Dec 8, 2011 10:13AM
boomerdog, Blue Moon? You choose a Wiesen that is made by Coors to compete agains SA. There are a ton of better tasting Wiesens out there than Blue Moon.
Dec 8, 2011 10:11AM
I am sorry, but SA has one of the best lite beers out there. It truely does not taste anything like a lite beer. About the only beer I don't like from SA is their Boston Lager. I am dieing to try Utopia just once. It is because of SA the Miller, Coors, and AB now have craft style beers.
Dec 7, 2011 5:10PM
I lick the Sam Adam beers.  I like to drink da beer with my frinds on the duncan street, in scranton.  I run the cameraa
Dec 7, 2011 6:13PM
who cares if its made with "american" hops. it still tastes good, its not my favorite but id drink it. plus havent we learned by now that "made in america" is deffinatly not always good.
Dec 7, 2011 6:20PM

Sam Adams has some good beer, however, lets face it, they are the Budweiser of (contract) craft beer in America now. Anyone who takes the time to test and taste the broad spectrum of craft beers in America is NOT going to spend the majority of time drinking Sam Adams (although some brews should be included consistently). Like many other craft brewers, they have and continue to add candy brews to their offering - making "craft"  beer consumers just like supposed "coffee" drinkers, "Bread" consumers and "cigar" smokers - trendy and too much for being "part of the crowd".


That is the true American marketing "formula" that Koch and so many others use, decade after decade, century after century.


So instead of ordering a Miller Genuine Draft or Budweiser, or buying a case for a party, many folks under social pressure to drink (and pay for) "good" beer simply say or purchase - "Sam Adams" whatever...

Dec 7, 2011 7:42PM
good grief, Blue Moon makes Sam Adams taste like gizzard pee
Dec 7, 2011 3:30PM

East coast bias strikes again. I think Sierra Nevada Brewery should also be mentioned as a pioneer in American craft beer.


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