StockBeat: Boston Beer Surges as Cowen Serves up Frothier Outlook

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Boston Beer (NYSE:) surged on Thursday after Cowen upgraded its outlook on the beverage company, citing the explosive growth of its seltzer brand.

Cowen analyst Vivien Azer upgraded Boston Beer to outperform from market perform and raised her price target from $386 to $450, sending shares of Boston Beer (NYSE:) up more than 4.5%. The high on the day was $403.47.

With beer consumption in the U.S. on the way down, Boston Beer turned to an alcohol-infused seltzer in 2016, launching Truly Spiked & Sparkling and hasn’t looked back.

The Truly brand has seen explosive growth – in a market that has enticed beer, wine and vodka drinkers to make the switch to seltzer – helping the company offset softness in beer and cider sales.

According to Nielsen data, hard-seltzer sales grew roughly 200% over the past year.

The strong level of demand for hard seltzer won’t last forever, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road for Boston’s Truly, with new flavours expected to launch next year.

“With Truly continuing to drive outsized growth for SAM, and with new formulations and a lemonade line extension slated for next year, we believe Truly will continue to transform SAM’s growth algorithm, and offset continued softness in beer and cider,” Cowen said.

Boston Beer is up 67% so far this year and 136% since the end of 2016. It’s off 8.8% from its intraday peak of $444.64 reached on Aug. 27. It has an average price target of $376, according to consensus estimates of

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