Boston Beer

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Boston Beer ( SAM) is a handcrafted beer brewer that manufactures its beer under the Sam Adams label. The U.S. craft beer market continues to expand in what is estimated in annual mid teen percentage rates. In the meantime, total domestic beer sales are flat to slightly lower. This is a trend which should continue for some time.

Boston Beer continues to expand across the country from its humble beginnings in Massachusetts. This expansion is not only in bottled form but also in draft form as craft beers are taking market share in all distribution channels. You might assume that beer giants such as Anheuser-Busch Ambev ( BUD), Molson-Coors ( TAP) and SABMiller would not be concerned by this smaller competition, which has a market cap of just about $1.4 billion.

Quite the opposite: Those suds makers are trying to develop their own handcrafted brands. It may come down to one of these larger companies making an unsolicited bid for Boston Beer one day. I would also not rule out an acquisition by a beverage or snack business such as Coca-Cola or PepsiCo.

Recently, Boston Beer acquired Angel City Brewing, a privately held Los Angeles-based craft brewer. This is a strategically important acquisition as Boston Beer now has a West Coast base of operations to further catalyze its growth.

The stock sports a premium multiple of nearly 24 time earnings when compared to more traditional beer companies. I believe that this is justified given the huge opportunity for growth that the company has, or the possibility of a takeover. I have a $120 price target on shares of Boston Beer for the end of 2012. However, as the stock tends to be quite volatile, I consider Boston Beer to be a high risk investment with excellent long term growth opportunities.

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