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Boston Beer's Twisted Tea Seeks Shop

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BOSTON Boston Beer today confirmed it is reviewing ad chores on its Twisted Tea "malternative" ice-tea brand, hiring consultancy Pile and Co. here to assemble a field of agencies to pitch the business.

Independent Octopus in New York, which works on the flagship Samuel Adams brand, will not participate in the competition for Twisted Tea, a client representative said. Twisted Tea has no dedicated lead agency. No other Boston Beer brands are currently in play.

Twisted Tea has consistently spent less than $1 million in measured media in recent years, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Sources said spending is expected to rise, with estimated billings in the low-seven-figure range.

The client rep declined to disclose spending and said no firm schedule for the review had been established.

A desire to back the brand with greater creative firepower and forge a long-term positioning are driving the review.

Geography and size are not strict criteria for inclusion, the rep said, though sources indicated that small and midsize Northeastern shops known for their creative acumen are preferred.

The client has ties to Interpublic Group's Deutsch in New York (which handles the company's public relations), as well as two former Boston Beer creative shops: Big Chair in New York and MMB in Boston, both independents.

The parent company enjoyed a strong second quarter this year, posting record earnings of 56 cents per diluted share, compared with 21 cents per share during the same quarter a year ago. It also posted record second-quarter net revenue of more than $79 million, an increase of nearly 30 percent from the year-ago period. Revenue for the quarter rose 24 percent to more than $136 million.

According to a company statement, while "the Twisted Tea volume growth slowed in the second quarter [in 2006]," it still posted a "double-digit increase" over the comparable period a year ago. Boston Beer did not break out specific sales figures.