The Boston Beer Co.  Boston, reported its first-quarter 2015 net revenue at $199.5 million, which is an increase of $15.7 million, or 8.5 percent, compared with the same period last year, the company says. The increase is mainly due to core shipment growth of 6 percent, it says. Net income for the first quarter was $13.7 million, or $1 per diluted share, an increase of $5.4 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, from the first quarter of last year, it reports. This increase was primarily due to shipment increases and slightly improved gross margins, it explains.

"I am proud that we continue to lead the craft industry in both innovation and variety,” said Jim Koch, chairman and founder of The Boston Beer Co., in a statement. “We are pleased with the health of our brand portfolio and remain positive about the future of craft beer."   

Depletions grew 8 percent from the comparable 13-week period in 2014, the company reports. Core shipment volume was approximately 885,000 barrels, a 6 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2014, it says. Full-year estimated depletion growth remains unchanged at 8-12 percent, it notes. Gross margin increased to 50 percent compared with 49 percent in the first quarter of 2014, it reports.

The company has more than 68 percent of its volume invested in its Freshest Beer Program and says it believes participation in the program could reach 72-78 percent of its volume by the end of 2015.   

Advertising, promotional and selling expenses decreased $1 million compared with the first quarter of 2014. This was a result of decreases in point-of-sale and local marketing, which were due to the timing of new product launches that were only partially offset by increased investments in media advertising and higher costs of freight to distributors attributable to higher volumes, the company says.

 “We are pleased with the start of the year and the continued growth of our business,” said Martin Roper, the company's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “In the first quarter, our depletions growth of 8 percent benefited from strength in our Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea and Traveler brands…We continue to invest in our brands and in new opportunities such as Traveler, and we will increase investments in advertising, promotional and selling expenses commensurate with the opportunities and the increased competition that we see.

 "Our supply chain focus for the year continues to be taking greater advantage of our increased capacity through improved training, stable scheduling, and operating efficiency and reliability improvements,” he continued. “Our sales focus for 2015 is to ensure successful second-year growth of our 2014 launches and to support the national launch of our Traveler brand."