No. of Recommendations: 5
Here's some more:

That bottom-line growth was driven by the increase in revenue, healthier gross margin (up 90 basis points year over year to 53.6%), and lower income taxes, but partially offset by planned increases in advertising, promotional, and selling expenses. Recall three months ago, Boston Beer told investors it would attempt to combat decelerating depletions growth -- a key measure for how quickly its products travel from warehouses to consumer outlets -- by introducing new packaging and advertising in the second half of 2015.

Of course, that did't seem to work.

Similar to last quarter, Boston Beer's founding chairman, Jim Koch, opted to be the bearer of bad news: "Our total company depletion trends of 6% in the third quarter of 2015 matched our year to date trends, but represent a slowing from our expectations, primarily as a result of weakness in our Samuel Adams brand due to increased competition and a slowing in the cider category."

Oops! And furthermore:

What is new, however, are the cautious words surrounding the typically strong cider category, which notably includes Boston Beer's Angry Orchard brand and has effectively offset softness in other segments in each of its past two quarters.

Boston Beer CEO Martin Roper elaborated:

During the third quarter, we [...] saw a slowing of the cider category, but believe Angry Orchard maintained its share even as competitors continue to enter or increase investment. We remain positive about the long term cider category potential, but short term growth is less certain. We are planning continued investments in advertising, promotional and selling expenses, as well as in innovation, commensurate with the opportunities and the increased competition that we see.


At the same time, Boston Beer continues to wisely invest in supply chain improvements with the aim of enhancing customer service and further increasing the freshness of its products. Despite some "glass bottle supply challenges" in Q3, Roper insists Boston Beer's service level continued to show improvements.

And Boston Beer has no intention of letting those investments lapse as it grows its still-tiny slice of the overall beer market. As per usual, Roper reiterated his decidedly (capital-F Foolish) statement, "[W]e continue to be prepared to forsake the earnings that may be lost as a result of these investments in the short term, as we pursue long term profitable growth."

It's looking like SAM was a fast grower like AAPL, but then ran out of innovative ideas. And it seems SAM, for now isn't entirely sure how to get things back on track. If the stock can get back onto it's former growth path, the shares are cheap. But if not, it may have further to fall. In short, competition is eating them alive, they are losing market share (have been for several quarters actually), and they need to innovate to begin growing again. The other question is, are they too big to continue being the niche craft brewer they are known as with so many other niche craft brewers invading the space?

Or, maybe they will just be acquired by a bigger fish. There's always that. Until there's some solid sign of a turnaround, I'd stick to just watching this one...

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