Boston Beer falls nearly 10% as weak hard seltzer demand forces it to pull earnings guidance

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Health conscious American millennials have found their drink of choice: alcoholic carbonated water that is lower in calories and carbs than beer and wine. A hard seltzer craze is sweeping the United States as Generation Y and Generation Z pursue healthier lifestyles, influenced by viral trends on Instagram and YouTube.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY | AFP | Getty Images

Boston Beer, the parent of alcoholic beverage brands like Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard, pulled its earnings guidance Wednesday amid a big slowdown in sales of its hard seltzer brand Truly.

At the end of July, the company pointed to “decelerating growth trends” in hard seltzer sales to justify its weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue for the second quarter, which sent its stock tumbling 26% at the time. Those results also led the company to cut its full-year forecast, lowering its expected adjusted earnings to between $18 per share and $22 per share for 2021. Its prior outlook was for a profit between $22 per share and $26 per share.

Shares of the alcoholic beverage company fell 9.8% in after-hours trading.

“The Company now expects to incur hard seltzer-related inventory write-offs, shortfall fees payable to third-party brewers and other costs that will be expensed during the remainder of fiscal 2021,” Boston Beer said Wednesday.

The market for hard seltzer products has been among the most sought after by legacy beverage brands during the pandemic. In August, Constellation Brands and Anheuser-Busch InBev launched hard seltzer products under the Bud Light and Corona brands.

In a related move in the same month, Boston Beer partnered with Pepsi to create a hard Mountain Dew product.

CNBC’s Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

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