This Beer Stock Is a Buy Right Now

By Ian Wyatt

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I've mentioned that you should check out Boston Beer Company ( SAM) in the past, and right now shares are trading at a fairly attractive technical level.

The company is headquartered in Boston, and while it's not likely to double in the next year, it is in a sector that tends to prove resilient regardless of what's going on in the economy. The stock has also been a constant performer, and the recent pullback from $100 to around $90 represents a good opportunity.

The company has a record of profitability. With analysts expecting 10% revenue growth and 11% earnings per share growth in 2011, I believe the stock should resume its climb higher.

I began covering the U.S. beer market this past summer after hearing reports of yet another blockbuster year for the Vermont Brewers Festival. With more than 30 different breweries from the region participating, the turnout was strong and the beers varied.

I've since noticed the massive amount of shelf-space dedicated to craft and micro brews at my local gas stations, convenience stores, and liquor stores. After realizing that I was a huge fan of many of these frothy offerings I began researching growth stock investment opportunities in the craft brewing industry.

Besides Craft Brewers Association ( HOOK), Boston Beer is the only publicly traded craft brewer in the U.S.

Craft beers are produced at a small brewery with output of no more than 2 million barrels a year. According to the report released by the Brewers Association, the number of these types of breweries is steadily increasing.

But more breweries will mean increased competition -- so differentiation is critical for companies to be successful over the long-term. According to Brewers Association (the largest organization of brewers in the U.S.), craft beer now accounts for around 5% of the total U.S. beer market.

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the craft brewing segment. And they're buying those beers instead of the mass produced offerings.

Boston Beer produces the popular Samuel Adam's Lager and Twisted Tea, as well as a huge variety of seasonal offerings. The company has breweries in Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Boston Beer recently reported results for the three months ended Sept. 25, 2010. The company's revenue increased to $124.5 million, up 14.5% from the comparable three months of 2009. The company also increased shipments by 13%.

Boston Beer is growing fast enough that it may soon outgrow craft beer status. The brewer expects to sell more than 2 million barrels by 2012. But just because the company may outgrow the "craft brewer" definition doesn't mean it isn't a compelling investment. It may just be in the sweet spot -- small enough to gain greater popularity as a top-quality brewer but large enough to gain distribution efficiencies and greater shelf space.

The homegrown element of craft beers is also something that's very appealing to the growing number of consumers who subscribe to the local food movement. If these people like to purchase food that's grown closer to home, it's rational to assume they like to do the same with beer. Of course, buying a "local" beer that is brewed on the other side of the country isn't exactly in-line with the localvore food movement, but the idea is pretty much the same -- and it's easier to bottle and ship a craft brew than a dozen cherry tomatoes.

Disclosure: Small Cap Investor PRO lead research analyst Tyler Laundon currently owns shares of SAM.
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Wyatt Investment Research, founded in 2001 as a publisher of newsletters, offers independent investment research of financial markets, stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds to about 250,000 individual investors. The company is led by founder Ian Wyatt, who serves as publisher and chief investment strategist.

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