business

Boston Beer CEO Calls Hard Seltzer 'Biggest Disruption' Since Light Beer

Boston Beer Company shares are up more than 40 percent on the year, and the brewer of Sam Adams says a lot of the credit goes to its hard seltzer Truly which, along with privately-owned White Claw, has been cornering about 85 percent of the market. For Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick, the budding rivalry is a good thing.
"In a way it's helpful, because we want more people to turn their heads in our direction, and if we were doing it all by ourselves it wouldn't be quite as easy," Burwick explained.
Guggenheim Securities raised its price target on Boston Beer to $462 and reiterated its "buy" rating last week, partially thanks to Truly's success, but also that of White Claw.
"Having other players who are out there building the market with you is actually a good thing," Burwick added.
While the company's beer sales continue to slump, Truly has been something of a lifeboat, as hard seltzer sales have exploded by 200 percent over the last year, according to Nielsen data. While the brand is in its infancy, Burwick sees more potential, but recognizes how much work remains to be done.
"Building a brand is super important and that's just beginning right now. Brand awareness is very low in the category, very few households ー only about four or five percent ー have even purchased a hard seltzer so far."
With so much room for growth, the CEO has a message for anyone who believes hard seltzer is simply a passing fad.
"It's the biggest disruption in the beer business since light beer was introduced in the 70s," Burwick declared.
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