CBA Sales Grow 12 Percent in 2014


Craft Brew Alliance shared additional details about its fourth quarter and full year 2014 earnings this morning, highlighting record sales, core brand growth and bottom line improvements during a call with investors.

On the year, CBA increased net sales 12 percent against 2013 numbers, exceeding the $200 million mark in the process, both record figures in the company’s history. Gross Profits rose 17 percent while operating income increased 50 percent, to $5.7 million.

Shipments across all brands were up 10 percent in 2014, to 791,000 barrels, up from just 4 percent gains in 2013. That growth was driven primarily by Kona shipments, which grew 17 percent, followed by Widmer Brothers up six percent and Redhook up three percent. Widmer Hefeweizen was up seven percent in the fourth quarter alone, the first increase for the brand in more than four years.

Depletions were down from 11 percent in 2013 to 7 percent in 2014, but the company also cut a quarter of its SKUs.

Contract brewing and beer related sales increased by 33 percent as well, but CEO Andy Thomas said the future of the company is in brewing and growing its own portfolio.

“We’re all about the future growth of the portfolio and making sure our brands are as vibrant as they can be,” he said on the call. “Our preference is to brew our own brands.”

Looking forward, the company anticipates growing shipments between 6 and 8 percent with an average price increase of 1 to 2 percent in 2015.

Having introduced its first major advertising campaign in May of last year, the company also said it will further invest in the “Dear Mainland” television campaign after it drove a plus 35 increase in the rate of Kona sales in its two test markets, San Diego and Florida. The company plans to expand its marketing efforts behind the brand further into Florida and into Sacramento, Calif.

CBA didn’t discuss much about the strategic partnership it formed with North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountain Brewery in December, but Thomas shared a small glimpse into the future of the company’s merger & acquisition activity.

“Our approach is very explicitly one we call planting seeds. Appalachian Mountain would be a seed,” he said. “We believe that working together, we can not only help grow Appalachian Mountain… we think we can also leverage the strength locally to help the rest of [our] portfolio.”

He said the company plans to continue planting seeds, but would not delve further. “More to come,” he said.

Additional details from CBA’s 2014 earnings results can be found in the company’s press release.