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Boston Beer Inc (NYSE:SAM)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 17, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings and welcome to the Boston Beer Company's Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Jim Koch, Founder and Chairman. Thank you. You may begin.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Thank you. Good afternoon everyone and welcome. This is Jim Koch, Founder and Chairman, and I'm pleased to kick off the 2020 fourth quarter earnings call for the Boston Beer Company. Joining the call from Boston Beer are Dave Burwick, our CEO; and Frank Smalla, our CFO. I'll begin my remarks this afternoon with a few introductory comments, including some highlights of our results and then hand over to Dave, who will provide an overview of our business. Dave will then turn the call over to Frank, who will focus on the financial details of our fourth quarter and 2020 fiscal year results as well as our outlook for 2021. Immediately following Frank's comments, we'll open the line for your questions.

As the COVID-19 panic slowly winds down, our primary focus continues to be on operating our breweries and our business safely and working hard to meet consumer demand. I'm very proud of the passion, creativity, and commitment to community that our company has demonstrated during this pandemic. We're thankful to our outstanding coworkers for their focus and diligence and our distributors, retailers, and drinkers, all of whom helped the company achieve double-digit volume growth for the 11th consecutive quarter. We achieved depletions growth of 26% in the fourth quarter and 37% for the full year. We remain positive about the future growth of our diversified brand portfolio and we believe that our depletions growth is attributable to our key innovations, the quality of our products, and our strong brands.

We see significant distribution and volume growth opportunities in 2021 for our Truly, Twisted Tea, and Dogfish Head brands, which remain our top priorities for 2021. Early in 2021, we launched Truly Iced Tea Hard Seltzer, which combines refreshing hard seltzer with the real brewed tea and fruit flavor. The launch has been well received by distributors, retailers and drinkers, but it is too early to tell if it will be successful. We are working hard to further develop our brand support and messaging for our Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard brands to position them for long-term sustainable growth, in the face of the difficult on-premise environment. We are excited about the response to the introduction in early 2021 of several new beers, Samuel Adams Wicked Hazy, Samuel Adams Wicked Easy and Samuel Adams Just the Haze, our first non-alcoholic beer, as well as the positive reaction to our Samuel Adams Your Cousin from Boston advertising campaign. We are confident in our ability to innovate and build strong brands that complement our current portfolio and help support our mission of long-term profitable growth.

I will now pass over to Dave for a more detailed overview of our business.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Okay. Hey, thanks Jim. Hello everyone. Before I review our business results, I'll start with the usual disclaimer. As we stated in our earnings release, some of the information we discussed in the release and they may come up on this call reflect the Company's or Management's expectations or predictions of the future. Such predictions and the like, are forward-looking statements. It's important to note that the company's actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in the Company's most recent 10-K. You should also be advised that the company does not undertake to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Okay. Now, let me share a deeper look at our business performance. Our depletions growth in the fourth quarter was the result of increases in our Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea brands, partly offset by decreases in our Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard and Dogfish Head brands. The growth of the Truly brand, led by Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer, continues to be very strong and well ahead of hard seltzer category growth. Truly Lemonade was the most incremental new product in the entire beer industry in measured off-premise channels in 2020. The Truly brand overall generated triple-digit volume growth in 2020 and grew its velocity and its market share sequentially despite other national, regional and local hard seltzer brands entering the category. In 2020, Truly increased its market share in measured off-premise channels from 22 points to 26 points and was the only national hard seltzer, not introduced in 2020, to grow share. There remain many opportunities to expand package, channel and geographic distribution and we expect the Truly brand to continue to lead the growth of the business as it has come to stand for a great-tasting, refreshing, pure-play hard seltzer brand.

In early 2021, we launched Truly Iced Tea Hard Seltzer and, while it's still in the early stages, we're encouraged by the support our wholesalers have provided, the trial we are generating as a result of the brand's established equity, and the social media response from consumers. We will continue to invest heavily in the broader Truly brand and work to improve our position in the hard seltzer category, as competition continues to increase. Our Twisted Tea brand has benefited greatly from increased at-home consumption and continues to generate accelerating double-digit volume growth, even as new entrants have been introduced and competition has increased. Our Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard and Dogfish Head brands have been most negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the related on-premise closures.

For 2021, we plan to build upon our success and work to drive our brands to their full potential, with a particular focus on our Truly and Twisted Tea brands. We are expecting all of our brands to grow in 2021 and for the growth rate of our operating expenses to be below our top line growth rate, delivering leverage to our operating income.

During the fourth quarter, as we increased our brand spend, we also made investments in our supply chain to ensure we are prepared for increased competitive activity in the hard seltzer category. We have invested to increase our can and automated variety pack capacity, but these capacity increases keep on getting eclipsed by our depletions growth, resulting in higher than expected usage of third-party breweries. We will continue to take advantage of the fast-growing hard seltzer category and deliver against the increased demand through this combination of internal capacity increases and higher usage of third-party breweries, although meeting these higher volumes through increased usage of third-party breweries has a negative impact on our gross margins.

We have begun a comprehensive program to transform our supply chain with the goal of making our integrated supply chain more efficient, reduce costs, increase our flexibility to better react to mix changes, and allow us to scale up more efficiently. We expect to complete this transformation over the next two to three years. While we anticipate the program to start delivering margin improvements in 2021, our gross margins and gross margin expectations will continue to be impacted negatively until the volume growth stabilizes. While we are in a very competitive business, we are optimistic for continued growth of our current brand portfolio and innovations and we remain prepared to forsake short-term earnings as we invest to sustain long-term profitable growth, in line with the opportunities that we see.

Based on information in hand, year-to-date depletions reported to the company through the 6 weeks ended February 6, 2021 are estimated to increase approximately 53% from the comparable weeks in 2020.

Now, Frank will provide the financial details.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Jim and Dave. Good afternoon, everyone. For the fourth quarter, the reported net income of $32.8 million or $2.64 per diluted share, an increase of $1.52 per diluted share or 136% from the fourth quarter of last year. This increase was primarily due to increased net revenue, partially offset by lower gross margins and higher operating expenses.

Shipment volume was approximately 1.94 million barrels, a 54% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019. Shipments for the quarter increased at a higher rate than depletions and resulted in higher distributor inventory as of December 26, 2020, when compared to December 28, 2019. The Company believes distributor inventory as of December 26, 2020 averaged approximately 5 weeks on hand and was at an appropriate level, based on supply chain capacity constraints and inventory requirements to support the forecasted growth.

Our fourth quarter 2020 gross margin of 46.9% decreased from the 47.4% margin realized in the fourth quarter of last year, primarily as a result of higher processing costs due to increased production at third party breweries, partially offset by cost saving initiatives at Company-owned breweries and price increases.

Fourth quarter advertising, promotional and selling expenses increased $48.1 million from the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to increased investments in media and production, increased salaries and benefits costs and increased freight to distributors because of higher volumes. General and administrative expenses were flat from the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to non-recurring Dogfish Head transaction-related expenses of $2.1 million incurred in the comparable 13-week period of 2019, partially offset by increases in salaries and benefits costs.

Our full-year net income per diluted share of $15.53 increased $6.37 or 70% compared to the prior year. This increase was primarily due to increased revenue, partially offset by lower gross margins and increases in advertising, promotional and selling expenses. Our full-year 2020 shipment volume was approximately 7.37 million barrels, a 38.8% increase from the prior year.

Looking forward to 2021. Based on information of which we are currently aware, we are targeting 2021 earnings per diluted share of between $20 and $24, but actual results could vary significantly from this target. This projection excludes the impact of ASU 2016-09. We are currently planning increases in shipments and depletions of between 35% and 45%. We're targeting national price increases per barrel of between 1% and 2%. Full year 2021 gross margins are currently expected to be between 45% and 47%, a decrease from the previously communicated estimate of between 46% and 48%. We plan increased investments in advertising promotional and selling expenses of between $120 million and $140 million for the full year 2021, a decrease from the previously communicated estimate of between $130 million and $150 million, not including any increases in freight costs for the shipment of products to our distributors. We estimate our full-year 2021 effective tax rate to be approximately 26.5%, excluding the impact of ASU 2016-09. This effective tax rate also excludes any potential future changes to current federal income tax rates and regulations. We are not able to provide forward guidance on the impact of ASU 2016-09 will have on our 2021 financial statements and full-year effective tax rate, as this will mainly depend upon unpredictable future events including the timing and value realized upon exercise of stock options versus the fair value of those options were granted. We are continuing to evaluate 2021 capital expenditures and currently estimate investments of between $300 million and $400 million. The capital will be mostly spent on continued investments in capacity and efficiency improvements at our breweries.

We will now open up the call for questions. Similar to the last couple of calls, Dave will be the MC on our side and coordinate the answers when needed since we are in different locations.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

At this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Bonnie Herzog with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

All right, thank you. Hi, everyone. I guess I wanted to -- I was hoping you guys actually could talk a little bit further on your expectations for gross margin pressures, I mean you touched on this, but it certainly sounds like it's now expected to be a bit longer, so maybe you could share with us what is a realistic timeframe for when your gross margins will be back above 50%, is it possibly 2 to 3 years when you're finished with the transformation of your supply chain that you mentioned. And then also in terms of this transformation, you did say it's going to maybe take 2 or 3 years, but I guess I'm wondering if there is an opportunity to accelerate this this transformation. If so, is it simply a function of greater investment or is there something else? Thanks.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Bonnie, this is Frank. I'm going to take the question on gross margin. So you're right, it has come down a little bit and the key reasons are actually that we have a higher percentage than we had originally planned going externally. The second thing is that we are seeing freight increases in the market and that is partly impacting the materials and the ingredients that are being shipped to our location and the third one is actually touching on your second question, I'm going to answer that in a minute, a higher investments in our supply chain transformation program precisely to accelerate those benefits and get to a higher capacity and better integration and lower costs. The perspective on gross margins overall, the main reason why they're going down is literally because we are adding external capacity at a really high pace and it's a bad news for margins in the short term, but it's good news, because we see the tremendous growth in the category and in form of brands in particular. So it's good news, bad news, and the strategy that we're following is that our number one priority is to grow share, because as long as the category is growing, it's relatively easier to impact the share and to carve out our part of the category. Once the category stabilizes, this is going to be harder, but if you have a larger share of that will pay dividends for the long term with the negative impact on the margins is relatively short term until of the category stabilizes. When it stabilizes, we will relatively quickly get to a better margin structure, as we improve our supply chain, when we know where we add really long term capacity and there are number of drivers, one is that we will increase our share of internal production, better integrate, we'll continue with our co-manufacturing partners, of course, but we will better integrate that into our system, and that will be enabled by supply chain transformation and then we will see significant benefit on the gross margin side. I think the important thing and that's the last thing to the gross margin. I think the important thing is that the gross margin is not impacted by softer pricing or anything like we are -- really we are building a strong brand here, it's literally to get the product to the market and lead the customer demand and the consumer demand.

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. That was helpful. It definitely makes sense. And so, maybe just to clarify really quick and then I'll pass it on. Is there a potential opportunity to accelerate than the investments you're making behind your supply chain or will it simply take the 2 to 3 years?

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

There is potential to accelerate. We are working through that. It's really hard to give you -- we know we're going to see benefits this year from the supply chain transformation.

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

The difficult part is we don't know exactly where we're going to end up in the ratio between the internal production and the external production, we are adding significant capacity internally and externally and naturally we are -- we are prioritizing the internal capacity, that's what we're going to run flat out, basically for the year. And again, good news, bad news, the strong in the growth, the higher the percentage of external production and while this has a negative impact on the margin, it will definitely have a positive impact on the profit and as we -- as we see leverage throughout the entire P&L also on operating income margin.

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you again. Appreciate it.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

But let me throw one more piece that may help, but one of the dynamics driving our gross margin down is that most of our growth is coming in variety packs and brewers aren't set up to make variety packs very efficiently including ours. So all of them variety packs and you can look at the IRI numbers for what percent Truly is in variety packs, but it's somewhere between 80% and 90%, right so that Truly growth, the vast majority of it, requires this extra complicated handling step, which is not automated very well and add significant costs. Now, we are -- we've begun to automate that and we've implemented that in our Pennsylvania brewery and we think we've been successful and that has actually helped that gross margin number from dropping as much as you might have predicted, had we not done that. And so, we believe over the next couple of years, we're going to be able to take the technology and the practices that we have developed and continue to develop internally take that to our co-packers, none of whom yet have that cost reduction capability. So I think we believe that in the next 2 years, we will have almost all of our co-packers, being able to do variety packs without anything like the current up charges required.

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. Very helpful. Thanks again.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Vivien Azer with Cowen. Please proceed with your question.

Vivien Azer -- Cowen -- Analyst

Hi, thanks very much. Given your comment that your new gross margin outlook indicates a greater proportion third-party manufacturing on the hard seltzer, yet you've held your shipment and depletion guidance intact. Are we to infer then that there has been kind of an underlying change to your expected growth in the hard seltzer and if that's true, what's that going to be expense of?

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

So Vivien, I don't think, I mean, there are number of drivers, as I mentioned, one is also the freight. So there is a -- there is a little bit of a change because we're building capacity as we speak and the timing varies a little bit. The real change wasn't actually the full point that we were reflecting, we're giving you the full point ranges. But we had a slight change in the phasing of how the different capacities are coming on stream and that's part of it. So we don't see a dramatic change there and we held our depletions guidance, our volume guidance, we held constant, but we are -- we keep the margin pretty stable within that range.

Vivien Azer -- Cowen -- Analyst

Okay, understood. Thank you for that clarification. And then, one follow-up for me then, please. Just wanted to dive into your comment around expectations for growth across your whole portfolio and just as I think about beer specifically, you clearly have a lot of innovation in place. But how big of a role does a return of the on-premise play in you actually achieving the aspiration to grow beer this year?

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Hey Vivien, this is Dave. I'll take that one. So I think, yeah, so for sure we're looking Truly and Twisted Tea are going to drive a lot of growth, as we discussed. But the other brands, there is a benefit from on-premise coming back on and we have assumptions about that, it has been a great edge over the course of the year comes back on more fully by the fourth quarter. But in addition, we got first of all, here in the off-premise, the core brands, all of core brands, Samuel Adams, Dogfish Head, Angry Orchard Crisp, we've seen growth since COVID. So there is some momentum and has had some household penetration increased across all those brands. So we see, they have got a momentum with off-premise. Also the innovation, we expect to play a role, we do. And we have a number of other things out there, we have Wicked Hazy is out there now, Wicked Hazy, Wicked Easy, Sam Adams Light, Dogfish Head had just launched Hazy-O! and Dogfish Head canned cocktails. Angry Orchard two different fruit ciders, Peach Mango and Strawberry. So the momentum that we have generated over the last, call it 9 months in the off-premise with the core brands on top of that, the innovation that we're hopeful about this year across all 3 of those brands and then on top of that, on-premise coming back over the course of the year, we think that in our -- in our plans that adds up to positive growth for each of those 3 -- each of those 3 brands.

Vivien Azer -- Cowen -- Analyst

Understood. Thanks so much.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Sure.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Eric Serotta with Evercore ISI. Please proceed with your question.

Eric Serotta -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Thank you. First, a quick housekeeping question. The year-to-date depletions up 53%, do you have any ballpark as to how much retail inventory building was in there for Truly Iced Tea and some of the new products? And then bigger picture, could you talk a bit about your visibility into shelf space and distribution growth across the portfolio for 2021, particularly for Truly, any early read on the spring shelf set resets, which were delayed for a year? And I'll pause there. Thank you.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Eric, I'll take the first question on the inventory. We have, I mean clearly we are building inventory, we started building inventory because we know we don't have the capacity for peak and that's pretty much in line with what we have done in the previous 3 years. We started building the inventory in December, not exactly to the extent that we had originally planned, but it was higher than what we had in the previous year and the key driver behind that was the Truly Iced Tea launch, which compared to Lemonade, when we launched Lemonade that was a pretty new idea, pretty new product. So people wanted -- were careful in taking that in, whereas the Truly Iced Tea launched there was a lot of goodwill from the wholesalers, the retailers and the consumers. So we knew the launch was going to be bigger, so we have to build a little bit more and that's what you saw at year-end, we had about a week more in wholesaler inventory than what we had the prior year. Since then, we haven't really built much to be honest because we continue to build and we will build pretty much into March-April, but it's gradual and it's -- it's broadly in line with what we have done in the previous years.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Hey Eric, I'll take on the shelf space question. If we look -- we're expecting probably about 50%, maybe more increase in shelf space, obviously it's going to vary by channel by customer, but on average last year, if you look at large format stores, grocery stores on average maybe 7% -- 7% cubic feet for a hard seltzer for the category. We see that going up to 11%, 12%, 13% this year. So I'd say 50% plus in terms of space.

Eric Serotta -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Great. And then just a follow-up, and Jim, last quarter you guys expressed some confidence that the overall hard seltzer category could double again this year sort of tied into your last comments on the shelf space increase, are you still looking for the category doubling again this year. I know your guidance doesn't -- doesn't count on Truly doubling, but just wondering how you're thinking of overall category growth.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah. This is Dave, I'll take that one. I think we spent a lot of time thinking about this over the last -- since we spoke, a lot of changes out there, we look at like really, a lot of different things, we looked at actually, a lot of folks on this call did conduct their own analysis to look at that category and make their own predictions. We talked to a number of industry experts to get their assessment of where they thought the category was going the pub volumes of the world and then of course, we dug into our own data, so we spent a lot of time looking at -- our points of distribution, growth potential, velocity potential, household penetration, where it is, where it's going, the buy-rate. We looked at our innovation like Truly Tea and other things. We look at some -- maybe some of the lost cases last year because supply chain couldn't deliver the cases. We also dug into numerator data, which I know some of you guys look at and also IRI data and in the end, it came out -- at the end of that exercise with a range of about 70% or 100%. So, I think last time, we may have said 80% to 100%, but we're pretty confident the category will grow based on all the work we did and based on the work that a lot of you've done somewhere in that 70% to 100% range. And that would translate into maybe 15% plus share of total beer within the IRI or Nielsen universe.

Eric Serotta -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Terrific. I'll pass it on. Thank you.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Okay.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Kevin Grundy with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.

Kevin Grundy -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hey, great, thanks. Good evening, guys and congratulations on the strong year. Dave, maybe we could just start I guess with where you left off in the last one, just sort of building to the category growth because it's -- the category, while still at really strong levels, it's decelerated here in January and February. So how do you see the cadence of this playing out for the category, if sort of the bogey that you guys are setting is it's going to grow 70% to 100%, what -- and the comp -- year-over-year comparisons are going to be difficult. How do you see this playing out, is this additional capacity coming on to help Mark Anthony brands and among others, is this new product innovation. How do you see this playing out that we go from this deceleration here in early part of the year and we accelerate to get to the high end of the range? And then, I have a follow-up.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah, sure thing. I think, well, I think you kind of have some of the answer in there, I think, I mean, we think innovation will continue to drive interest in the category. We don't think they're going to be the supply challenges at least for the top players, as it was a year ago. I think also as you know things did slow down at the end of the year, when you look at it, I mean the whole beer industry, we look at -- there were issues, there were COVID shutdowns, uncertainty about the political environment, well you know COVID relief, etc., etc. And that's -- we see a change, and if you look at the -- it depends on what you're looking at, that's the performance of this category. Some of the guys look at Nielsen, some of the guys look at IRI, but generally the category is growing by 90% right now and it's a soft shoulder and we just think that as innovation gets going, and I'll use Truly Tea as an example, I mean if you look at the non-alcoholic, that's about a $10 billion business of retail. So that kind of dwarf what I mean, I'm sure is a $100 million, it's probably not. So this is a significant category and we think innovation like that and there are others of course, I'm not just trying to talk about our innovation, but if you use as an example, innovation like Tea, we think it's going to be more people with the category. So we think -- we think things will start to accelerate again even as we get toward the summer, to get the overlap from COVID last year. So again, you look at the trends, you look at the growth in household penetration, you look at the growth in frequency and compare it to like light beer, where it's 50% less household penetration the light beer, we think it's -- we think it can get there. And we put a range on it. So it's not, maybe it won't be a 100%, but we think it will be at least 70% and whatever it is our intent is to grow faster than whatever that number ends up being.

Kevin Grundy -- Jefferies -- Analyst

All right. And then just to be clear on that, the expectation is that you're going to maintain market share in the category, is that what you're planning or is the expectation that Truly is going to gain share, which is reflective of what we've seen in the Nielsen data recently?

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah. Yeah, our expectation is we're going to gain share. I mean if you look at it, I mean that's our goal and that's -- we will be happy, but if you look at, go back -- back to September, maybe Nielsen will look like IRI, but if you go back to September at IRI, Truly has been outgrowing the category since then, by about 40 points or 50 points, since that time and that was before the innovation starting to kick in. So we feel -- we feel good about where we are now, but obviously it's early and there's a lot -- there's a lot more chapters to happen this year, but we feel like we're in a position, where if play out the way we expect, we'll grow -- we will outgrow the category and we will gain share.

Kevin Grundy -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Yeah. Makes sense. Thanks for that. Just a quick follow-up, could -- and Jim, maybe it would be good to get your thoughts here as well, just comment, it seems like the Iced product is off to a strong start understanding, it's still really early, how has it performed relative to your expectations, where do you think it is, I know again, it's early any read on repeat purchase rates at this point? And then I can pass it on. Thank you.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Jim, you want to jump in or you want me to...

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Sure. Sure. We didn't really know how big Tea was going to be, so my expectations were that it would be a little bit less than Lemonade and in alcoholic beverages, certainly in FMBs eliminated figures and key, so the gap is closing but on the other hand, as Dave pointed out, it's basically more Iced Tea drinkers out there than there are Lemonade drinkers by a factor of 2 or 3 or 4. So I guess I could say I've been pleasantly surprised by the strength of Tea, but it's just way too early. I think retailers were very supportive of it, because they saw the success of Lemonade last year. I mean Truly Lemonade was particularly the biggest thing to come into hard seltzer category and their expectations were quite high. We got tremendous support from retailers. We got tremendous support from our distributors, but it's still in the middle of February and we have not yet seen the innovations hitting the market fully from Anheuser-Busch with their Bud Light Lemonade Seltzer and their Bud Light Seltzer and similarly from White Claw. So I think we'll have a pretty good handle on it at the next earnings call. But so far, to answer your question, it's actually done better than I thought.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah. And just to really quickly build on that, I think what we can say definitively is that there has been very, very high trial and the repeat, Kevin, to your point, the last question, the repeat -- it just takes a while to really know. So as Jim pointed out, next earnings call, we'll have a better handle on what repeat looks like and we'll have, we'll have proxies we can look at. We can look at real versus Lemonade, if we look at versus other new brands in the category. And we'll have a better handle on what the trajectory would be for Tea.

Kevin Grundy -- Jefferies -- Analyst

That's great. Thanks for the time guys. Good luck.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Wendy Nicholson with Citigroup. Please proceed with your question.

Wendy Nicholson -- Citi -- Analyst

Hi. My question has to do with on-premise, really for seltzer specifically, I assume in 2020 because of COVID and all the shutdowns, on-premise was a teeny-teeny-tiny low single digit percentage of the overall Truly franchise, but how big do you think it will be in 2021, are you gaining a lot of distribution, as restaurants and bars start to open back up and how quickly you think that can ramp and what's the receptivity of the on-premise location has been to Truly so far?

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Hey Jim, you want to take that one?

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Sure, sure. On-premise has lagged the off-premise with hard seltzer. There's no question about that and that was true imminent for COVID. It's still lagging, because you got to go in and sell it in and the on-premise operators are not that receptive to lots of sales calls in these times. So and again, it's not a product that has had a lot of traction on draft, so we've tried to generate it. So if I had to guess, seltzer will be a smaller -- smaller percent of its volume will be on-premise than the rest of the beer and cider category, which tends to be maybe 18% on-premise, as I would guess seltzer would be a lower number than that for the next year or two anyway.

Wendy Nicholson -- Citi -- Analyst

Got it. Very much, very much, so that's great. I just want to make sure you weren't forecasting too much about that. And then my second question just has to do with all the cash on the balance sheet, I know you've got capex planned to build out your capacity, but you're still generating a ton of cash. So what are you going to do with that cash, what's your appetite about thinking about another Beer acquisition, Dogfish has worked out fine, but are there any more craft beer brands like to expand, it seems like anything you'd buy would actually be dilutive to your growth. So I don't know if that makes sense, but you are stockpiling cash, so just curious how you think about that?

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

So I can take the cash question, then I'll let Jim talk to acquisitions, I guess -- to your point, we have a highly cash generative business, which is very beautiful, if you're a CFO, but we're also investing into the business and the growth of the business. You saw the capital that we're projecting of $300 million to $400 million, we want to maintain the flexibility and and those projections are based on the growth that we have given, and as we've said before, so far we have been surprised by the category growth and we just want to make sure that we stay really, really close that we build the capacity that we need. And then as I -- as I mentioned before, when it flattens out then we're going to create the network, the supply chain network that gets to significantly lower costs and for that, we want to have the flexibility. So that's the number one priority and it follows our long-term strategy that the business comes for us and then we'll see into the rest of the cash. But in the business, it's clearly supporting the growth at this point. And Jim, I don't know if you want to talk to any acquisition thoughts.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Sure. I don't think at this point we have any plans or appetite for another craft beer acquisition. Obviously, it depends on what company and what the situation is, I would say the Dogfish Head acquisition was a somewhat unique because of the synergies with the founders, I mean we view Sam and Mariah as unique assets, there was a very common culture and a very strong working relationship that I've had with both of them over the years, and they had a unique brand with a unique and very strong positioning as well as kind of the same creative and innovative juices that we have and those were sort of soft assets. The synergies worked out, we're now merged our distributors for about 85% of our volume is going through common distributors. So the numbers worked out in terms of being accretive, but the big driver there was not just the numbers, but the relationship and the culture and the sort of soft synergies of innovation and creativity.

Wendy Nicholson -- Citi -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. Thank you very much.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Laurent Grandet with Guggenheim. Please proceed with your question.

Laurent Grandet -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Hey, good evening guys and congrats for getting Truly Lemonade, the most incremental new product in the industry. And Jim, just an interesting comment, I'm more bullish than you are on Truly Tea, I mean, according to our math, I mean actually the tea category in F and B was twice as big as Lemonade before Truly Lemonade was launched. So anyway, two questions, like -- about the marketing spend, you significantly spend more in the fourth quarter that you guided, you said that 90% of third quarter earnings that you will spend $55 million to $65 million, you ended up spending $92 million more, so that's $30 million more so, what's the rationale there and also you reduced by $10 million in your guidance in marketing spend for for this year. So did you increase spending in the fourth quarter, I mean, I'd like to understand the rationale of why spending more in the fourth quarter, is that what you planned and and planning for less this year? Thanks.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Laurent, on the marketing spend or brand spend APS, Q4 was a big Q4 for us, I mean that's what we -- what we spent like so 50% -- more than 50% more than the previous year, whereas for the average year was 26% and that has to do a little bit of a phasing. We were going into 2020 and had really strong plans for the first half and that was impacted by COVID. COVID happened and we didn't execute -- couldn't execute everything, as we had planned for. We also worked on marketing plans and as I mentioned in previous calls, we have marketing plans, but we are also pretty adaptable and flexible and see what's working and what's not working and when our confidence increases, we're just spending more and when we don't have the level of confidence that's needed then we're reducing our spend. So I think Q4 is an expression of two things, one is the level of phasing and the second thing is, we feel much more confident in our programs and that's what we invested and we also wanted to have a strong start going into 2021 across all brands, I mean, primarily was Truly but it was also Tea, it was also Sam Adams. And then there was a little bit of phasing as well on the production. We got some production done a little earlier, so that happened as well in Q4. As to 2021, there was a little bit of phasing, but also when we gave you the initial numbers in October, quite a few things on flux and you get a better handle on your plans and the effectiveness of the plans and that's just firm up of the plan, it's not to change in -- a dramatic change in direction or strategy at all.

Laurent Grandet -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks. My second question is about packaging expansion, I mean you said in your prepared remark, you were planning to expand packaging. So you said in you'd have I mean much greater shelf space in grocery, I want to understand in province store specifically, what's the number of on average SKU, you've got right now and how much are you planning to have in '21 and is the growth will be coming from single serve primary, which are more profitable or will be coming from Truly Extra, which are also on single serve. So I'd like to understand there. Thank you.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Hey Laurent, I'll take that. I think it depends -- it really depends on the channel and you talk about pricing, we're looking to expand space obviously everywhere. I think in large format, it's really getting Truly to a variety pack in there, so that will be our variety pack or if you had set variety pack after Lemonade, so the goal is to have all five variety packs in every large format store. So for grocery, it's again it's mostly, as Jim said, it's like variety packing that's where we're playing. We're thinking convenience stores we have, there's a lot of opportunity on single serve and on variety pack. So right now, typically we have maybe one or two variety packs per convenience stores, we want to have two to three. We're also having single serve across the board, so again, it's not just -- we're talking Truly now, but it's not just Truly, lots of opportunity for the Twisted Tea in particular to get more packages in that channel as well.

Laurent Grandet -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Yeah. Okay. Well, thanks guys and hopefully next year, we'll see Truly Tea as the most incremental product in the Beer Industry. Okay. Wish you a good luck for this year.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Thank you, Laurent.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Nik Modi with RBC. Please proceed with your question.

Nik Modi -- RBC -- Analyst

Yeah. Good evening, everyone. Just a few questions. In the release, you talked a little bit about geographic expansion for the Truly brand and I just wanted to clarify, did you mean internationally, did you mean just in the US, can you just provide some context around that and then I wanted -- I wanted to just ask about when you talk about category stabilization for hard seltzer and I'm curious where you see that going, you talked about a 15% number, I didn't -- I wasn't clear if that was like next year or next two years or kind of longer term, but we think the category can get somewhere between 17% and 20% of overall beer based on our math. So I'm just curious what you think about those numbers? Thank you.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah. Sure thing. I think first on the geographic expansion, we were talking US, so there's still about a 6-point gap in ACV distribution between White Claw and Truly, so we think there are definitely pockets in the US, different chains, also convenience store is a big opportunity for us that we're very close and share perspective from in grocery, but we're much too distant in convenience. So it's we're talking about US on that one. And the second part was -- sort of where the category goes, I think we're not -- we don't want to -- we don't want to forecast beyond this year quite honestly. I think when I said 15%, we're thinking maybe 15 plus percent share this year in 2021 and that would be obviously, the IRI or Nielsen universe. I've seen your analysis going forward, and so those assumptions and they seem positive, seem kind of the facing pretty reasonable to me what you did, but we didn't want to come out here and start talking about anything beyond 2021, because we just -- we just don't know, I guess, we'll leave that to you. But we do think we see continued growth and the percent of mix makes sense and that's certainly why would relate, right. So it's not, it's not a crazy thought, for now, we can focus just on what's going to happen this year.

Nik Modi -- RBC -- Analyst

Great. And if I can just slip one more in on RTDs, obviously not core for Boston Beer, but Dogfish Head does have a small business there. So I'm curious just given how much retailers are expanding space in that particular area of the beverage alcohol market, if you're thinking about perhaps making a bigger play into that segment organically or through M and A. Thanks.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Yeah. So, I think yes, we're launching in March, we're launching Dogfish Head Canned Cocktails 3 SKUs and we ended the process amazing. We're very excited about it. I think right now, that's our -- it's our first foray into that space, and we'll see how it goes, I mean we think it's obviously, I think it sort of plays into premium and a high-end of hard seltzer if you will, I mean, the price points are obviously much higher and it could potentially be a high-end to the hard seltzer category in a way. We believe in the product, we believe in the brand. We'll see how it goes and then we'll decide from there. As you know, we still -- with distribution process, it's not like snap your fingers on Truly Tea and all our distributors and carry it necessarily, so we have to get the block in the distribution, as we go and we'll see what happens. But we like, I think it make sense right, the consumers are, there's a flooring right between wine, spirits, and beer, this is one of the outgrowths of that flooring and we do think it's something that sort of worth pursuing, which is why we're pursuing it right now -- kind of see how that goes and go from there.

Nik Modi -- RBC -- Analyst

Thanks so much for the perspective.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Steve Powers with Deutsche Bank. Please proceed with your question.

Steve Powers -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yes. Hey, thanks. Good evening. Two questions from me, the first one is another geographic base question, this one specific for Truly Tea. As you're thinking about that offering, do you think it will ultimately have sort of relatively even national appeal as it scales up to commensurate with the rest of franchise or do you see it resonating more regionally ultimately and if so, is that influencing how you're targeting your investment spending, as it does wrap up.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

I'll take that.

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Okay. Go ahead. Go ahead, Jim.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Yeah. Our experience with Twisted Tea has been that it is somewhat regional, though it's definitely becoming less so. It's been a 20-year process of rolling out Twisted Tea and the regionality has not been what you would have expected. You would have expected like in places like the south, where there is a lot of Tea consumption, Twisted Tea would have had its strongest demand and it turned out that it was more northern states from Maine, all the way across to rest of New England, Michigan, Montana, places like that. So we think that Hard Tea is now more widely accepted everywhere. We don't see it being particularly focused in places that are big drinking places like the south and we think it won't have the slow rollout that Twisted Tea did and therefore will more closely follow whatever regional pattern, which is fairly weak that you see with hard seltzer. Does that answer your question?

Steve Powers -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yeah. That's perfect. Thank you. And then in fall, you mentioned -- you talked a little bit about higher inbound freight costs as it relates to COGS earlier, I guess, just curious if you could put some maybe some parameters around what you're expecting for your own outbound freight cost to distributors, but maybe on a volume mutual basis just to give us a base understanding. And if I could just, as we're talking about supply chain dynamics, in the K, I noticed some supply disruptions impacted you in the fourth quarter, is that -- is that behind us now or is that have carryover implications early '21? Thank you.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Steve, let me talk of the freight. So when you look at 2020, 2020 for the full year, we didn't really have significant rate increase, of course we had freight increased due to volume, but not very significant due to rate if you look at the full year. But what happened is that with a slight decline in the beginning and significant increase in Q4 and the freight market tightened quite a bit across the US in Q4 and we saw significant increases there and we see that rolling into 2021 and the increase is pretty much the same that we see for inbound freight and outbound freight and it's really availability of trucks, the market has tightened to an extent that in many markets, you have several loads for one truck and that normally is below five. So we have seen that and we expect increases that would reach from a rate perspective, 20%.

Steve Powers -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Okay. That's perfect. Any color on the glass supply issue that I read about in K?

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

The glass supply issue should be behind us. There was a bit of tightness, the glass industry was adjusting, we were adjusting to certain plans that we had, but that is behind us.

Steve Powers -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

All right.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] There seems to be no further questions left in the queue. And I would like to turn the call back over to Mr. Jim Koch for any closing remarks.

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

Thank you everybody for joining us this evening and we'll talk to you again in a couple of months. Cheers.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 56 minutes

Call participants:

C. James Koch -- Founder and Chairman

David A. Burwick -- President and CEO

Frank H. Smalla -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Bonnie Herzog -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Vivien Azer -- Cowen -- Analyst

Eric Serotta -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Kevin Grundy -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Wendy Nicholson -- Citi -- Analyst

Laurent Grandet -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Nik Modi -- RBC -- Analyst

Steve Powers -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

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