BUD's Beer Run Pays Off

Anheuser Busch bubbles on news of more beer sales.
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Shares of Anheuser-Busch (BUD) - Get Report popped on word of mounting beer shipments this year.

The St. Louis-based company, best known for its Budweiser brand, reported that it shipped 104.4 million barrels of beer to wholesalers in all of 2007 -- up 2.1 million barrels, or 2%, from 2006 numbers. This is in large part due to acquired and import brands, which Anheuser said provided 170 basis points of growth.

The buying wholesalers, in turn, enjoyed a 1.3% sales increase to retailers in 2007.

CEO August Busch IV named the company's newly added InBev European brands as part of "the success of our initiatives to broaden the company's beer portfolio." And he predicted that this strategy, "along with our enhanced marketing and sales strategies to accelerate core beer sales," should push volume and profits even higher next year.

As for the fourth quarter, which includes one extra day vs. the year-ago period, import brands helped push shipments 3.4% higher than last year.

Following the good news out of Anheuser, fellow beer purveyor

Molson Coors Brewing

(TAP) - Get Report

added 1.8% to $51.61 in heavy trading today, and Sam Adams maker

Boston Beer Co.

(SAM) - Get Report

spiked 4.7% to $36.68.

Anheuser-Busch shares finished up $2.45, or 4.7%, to $54.15.