Why Boston Beer Shares Went Flat

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM  ) are tasting decidedly skunky to investors today after first quarter results showed an ugly earnings miss.

So what: Boston Beer reported revenue of $135.9 million, a 20% year-over-year improvement and comfortably ahead of the $131.3 million Wall Street consensus. However, the market has keyed into Boston Beer's earnings of $0.51 per share, which were much lower than the $0.62 consensus estimate. The company is holding firm on full-year EPS guidance of between $4.70 and $5.10, but warns that "actual results could vary significantly from this target." Boston Beer blamed weaker earnings on higher costs of production, advertising, and sales, and also noted that, despite strength in the Angry Orchard and Twisted Tea brands, the core Samuel Adams brand suffered a slight decline, primarily due to the seasonal offerings not meeting expectations.

Now what: Morningstar analysts believe that Boston Beer is too aggressively priced at a P/E north of 30, and Standard & Poor's analysts are holding onto a Sell rating and a price target of $143 per share. Though Boston Beer's P/E is actually below levels reached throughout 2008 and 2009, that's not a justification for buying a company that remains more dearly valued than any other publicly traded alcohol purveyor. If you remain interested in this stock, it definitely deserves further research, particularly into the craft beer arena, which Boston Beer may have already penetrated as fully as possible. Don't call it a buying opportunity before you know more.

Want more news and updates? Add Boston Beer to your Watchlist now.

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