(Portland, OR) – Craft Brew Alliance held a conference call this morning adding color to its Q4 and FY11 financials. Notes from the call are below (some numbers provided on the call may differ slightly from the financials – not sure why but it’s possible that management is referring to certain channels when providing numbers without stating it explicitly). All numbers apply to Q4 unless otherwise stated.
- Shipments to retailers up 4%, SIG-tracked off-premise channels up 12%
- Rotator IPA, Island Hopper and RedHook Pilsner among the top 5 fastest-growing new craft brands in SIG-tracked channels
- Sizable price increase for Widmer Brothers & RedHook in home markets of Pacific Northwest (ed. note: FYI, 2/3 of all CBA sales come out of PNW per financials)
- “Robust” performance from variety packs for all three brands, an indicator of rising brand health and success with target craft consumers seeking variety
- More-developed Western regions up 1% in Q4 and 5% for the year
- Less-developed Eastern regions up 18% in Q4 and 14% for the year
- Is focusing on a craft beer company, doesn’t seem interested in adding alcoholic lemonade and tea products
- Sales organization and resources on a national basis are strengths in terms of possible acquisitions of smaller craft brands. Fits with their portfolio strategy of nurturing brands while preserving brand authenticity. Resources/size of a big brewery with the soul of a craft brewery.
- Look for further buildout of Midwest and Eastern region footprint, highlighted by Kona expansion in Mid-Atlantic and South. Will be focusing emphasis of resources on metropolitan areas in East and Midwest.
- Adding Alabama, partially due to existing relationship with a 20-store chain called Publix
- Adding resources in NYC, DC, Carolinas, Atlanta and Florida. Won’t see Kona in Midwest in 2012 but will start to focus Widmer Brothers and RedHook more in Chicago, Minneapolis and parts of Ohio. Has a good relationship with Kroger supermarkets.
Widmer Brothers Brewing:
- Shipments down 3% but revenue grew
- Brother’s Best variety packs grew 60%
- High-end (Alchemy Project, 924 Series, Brothers Reserve) more than doubled in Q4 and collectively accounted for nearly 4% of volume
- Rotator IPA series accounted for 6% of sales, besting previous IPA it replaced by nearly 60%
- Hefeweizen: [offered nothing tangible in terms of performance though Symphony IRI data says sales dollars declined 7.3% in supermarkets in 2011 and is 9th leading craft brand in U.S.]
- New brands introductions coming in 2012 (check out the Widmer Brothers Brewing page on BeerPulse)
RedHook Ale Brewery:
- Shipments up > 3%
- Full-year growth of 3% in 2011 is strongest performance in 5 years
- Long Hammer IPA > 14% [Symphony IRI supermarket dollars up 8.6% in 2011 and is 12th leading craft brand in U.S.]
- Variety packs up 30%
- WinterHook seasonal made solid incremental case contribution to quarter
- 6-11% price increase on key packages in home markets
- Long Hammer IPA cans will be released in advance of summer season
- Overall shipments and Longboard Lager both up nearly 20%
- Island Hopper variety pack (new package) contributed over 6% of volume
- Aloha Series up nearly 15%
- Adding a second “mainland” offering to flank Longboard Lager in the second half