Boston Beer

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Boston Beer ( SAM) owns a meager 1% of the U.S. beer market, but that tiny share is enough to make the firm the fourth-largest brewer in the country. More important, SAM is the biggest craft brewer -- a distinction that's offering some stellar growth opportunities for investors right now. Boston Beer is best known for its Samuel Adams brand, which has grown from a regional favorite to a national staple in the last couple of decades. Boston Beer's more recent additions include Twisted Tea and Angry Orchard ciders, two products that have been gaining in mind share in the last year.

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For the past several years, craft beer has been the single fastest-growing segment in the alcoholic beverage market. SAM's position as the industry's standard bearer should bring with it some big advantages. SAM's scale is substantial, but it's still dwarfed by the megabrewers, a fact that still provides some big opportunities to grow its sales volume materially over time. The firm puts out a wide array of seasonal beers that take considerably more effort and cost than a single beer would, but that variety gives SAM a big advantage in fueling sales through limited runs.

Financially, Boston Beer is in stellar shape. The firm owns a nearly debt-free balance sheet with approximately $5.50 in cash on hand. While that cash position doesn't exactly make SAM a deep value play, it does give the firm the wherewithal to keep spending CapEx budget on increased capacity and national advertising campaigns. For investors looking to get exposure to the fast-growing craft beer segment, SAM is the best pure play.

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