Earnings season is winding down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Craft Brew Alliance (NASDAQ:BREW) is about to release its quarterly earnings. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Craft Brew Alliance is a tiny player in the beer industry, but the soaring popularity of craft beers has led to some colossal growth for the company. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Craft Brew Alliance over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Tuesday.

Stats on Craft Brew Alliance

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$40.7 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Last Quarter's EPS Result

Missed estimate by $0.05

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Craft Brew Alliance serve up better results this quarter?
Analysts have been less optimistic about Craft Brew Alliance in recent months, pulling in their calls for the just-ended quarter by $0.02 per share and trimming $0.03 per share off full-year 2013 estimates. But that pessimism hasn't held the stock back from a 7% gain since early December.

Traditionally, the brewing industry was dominated by massive companies that mass-produced commoditized beer, leading to the huge consolidation in the industry that produced Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) and Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP). But the emergence of Sam Adams maker Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) changed the environment for beermakers by establishing that craft beers could be successful from a quality standpoint and profitable. Budweiser and Coors have done their best to answer the changing trend, but attitudes among craft-beer drinkers favor smaller companies, and that's been good news for Craft Brew Alliance and small privately held breweries.

Still, Craft Brew faces its challenges. The company is too small to have its own distribution network and therefore relies on Anheuser-Busch for distribution, putting it in an awkward competitive position. Moreover, Boston Beer's Alchemy & Science division has looked at developing and promoting new craft beers from breweries across the country, creating more competition for Craft Brew in its home segment.

In its quarterly report, pay close attention to Craft Brew's discussion of its new export deal with CraftCanTravel, which is set to open up markets throughout Europe and Asia to the company. With strong international interest in beer, how Craft Brew's offerings are received could make a huge difference to its growth trajectory in the years to come.

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