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Boston Beer 4Q profit jumps 9 percent

BOSTON --Boston Beer Co., which sells malt beverages and hard cider under the brands Samuel Adams and Twisted Tea, said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit grew 9 percent, driven by increased shipment volume.

Fourth-quarter net income rose to $2.5 million, or 17 cents per share, from $2.3 million, or 16 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted profit of 17 cents per share.

Boston Beer revenue increased 13 percent, to $73.3 million from $64.8 million, due to a 12 percent boost in shipment volume.

Boston Beer Chief Financial Officer Bill Urich said fourth-quarter gross margin fell to 56 percent from 57.7 percent last year, due to increased supply chain costs. Urich added that cost pressures are expected to continue into 2007.

Full-year earnings increased 17 percent to $18.2 million, or $1.27 per share, from $15.6 million, or $1.07 per share, in the prior year.

Sales increased 20 percent to $285.4 million from $238.3 million a year before.

Boston Beer shares dropped 34 cents to close at $33.26 on the New York Stock Exchange.