Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM) cooked up a heady batch of brew the other day. Strong sales of the Samuel Adams and Twisted Tea brands droves fourth-quarter revenues higher by 26%, while profits rose by a massive 172%.

Boston Beer has been the toast of the markets these past two days. Shares are up more than 30% since the brewer released its report. Investors are celebrating the report, but it's the mirror image of what occurred back in November, when the patriotic brewer missed analyst estimates. The stock dove 25% that day. And therein lies the problem for investors who might wake up to find their beer skunked.

Sales of craft beers have been resilient so far, even in this tough economic period. Even though the cost of a six-pack keeps rising to help offset costs, core shipment volumes still rose 16.9% for the year. Yet where the company sees core shipments rising up 10% so far for the first quarter of 2008, it has also revised forecasts for expenses upwards as well. It now sees production costs climbing 12% to 16% this year, up from the 10% to 14% it called for in November.

That upward trend will continue to siphon off Boston Beer's margins. It's not the worst of the bunch, but when you compare what its market multiple is to its rivals and then look at where it sits based on quarterly profit margins, Boston Beer is indeed a premium-priced brewer.

Company 

12/06

3/07

6/07

9/07

12/07

P/E Ratio

Boston Beer

3.4%

8%

7.3%

3.8%

7.3%

31

Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD)

5.6%

13.4%

15%

15.3%

5.8%

17

Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP)

7.3%

1.6%

11%

8%

11%

19

Data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

I've already cracked open a cold Sam Adams in celebration of its robust quarterly performance, but I'd abstain from its stock, since there may very well be an opportunity to bring home a case of shares at a much better price later on.

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Anheuser-Busch is a recommendation of Motley Fool Inside Value. You can try the market-beating value investing newsletter service free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey is drinking a Sam Adams Light right now, but he does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.