The Canadian cannabis company Tilray Brands announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch to acquire eight beer and beverage brands.
It is yet another bid by Tilray to expand its footprint in the craft brewing space. Last year, the company acquired the New York-based beer company Montauk Brewing.
The company said that the “expected sales volume of the acquired brands [in Monday’s deal] will elevate Tilray Brands to the 5th largest craft beer business position in the U.S., up from the 9th.”
“Today’s announcement both solidifies our national leadership position and share in the U.S. craft brewing market and marks a major step forward in our diversification strategy,” Tilray Brands CEO and chairman Irwin D. Simon said in a statement on Monday’s deal with Anheuser-Busch. “We are excited to work with the teams behind these iconic brands that command great consumer loyalty and have a history of delivering strong award-winning products with tremendous growth opportunities. Tilray is fully committed to invest in and champion the future of the U.S. craft beer industry by fueling new innovation that excites and further accelerates the growth of its consumer base.”
With the deal, Tilray is acquiring a host of popular brands, including Shock Top, Breckenridge Brewery and Blue Point Brewing Company. The acquisition also includes 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Square Mile Cider Company, and HiBall Energy.
According to Monday’s announcement, the acquisition “includes current employees, breweries and brewpubs associated with these brands,” and the “purchase price will be paid in all cash and the transaction is expected to close in 2023.”
Simon said that the deal will significantly increase the company’s “national distribution to coveted markets across the U.S. and internationally.”
“In a matter of three years, Tilray has solidified its leadership position in the craft beer industry, and we fully intend to be that change agent that reinvigorates the sector. Upon federal cannabis legalization, we expect to leverage our leadership position, wide distribution network and portfolio of beloved beverage and wellness brands to include THC-based products and maximize all commercial opportunities,” Simon said.
Tilray acquired Montauk Brewing in November, a deal the company said at the time provided “enormous potential to expand its customer base and grow throughout the U.S. as a true national brand.” Montauk was added to a portfolio that already included SweetWater Brewing Company, which Tilray acquired in 2020.
“Tilray Brands continues to strengthen our U.S. footprint and operations through investments in and growing our portfolio of leading lifestyle CPG brands that resonate powerfully with consumers,” Simon said then. “Montauk Brewing is an iconic brand with leading market share and distribution in the northeast. Tilray Brands intends to leverage SweetWater’s existing nationwide infrastructure and Montauk Brewing’s northeast influence to significantly expand our distribution network and drive profitable growth in our beverage-alcohol segment. This distribution network is part of Tilray’s strategy to leverage our growing portfolio of U.S. CPG brands and ultimately to launch THC-based product adjacencies upon federal legalization in the U.S.”
At the time of the announcement, the company also said that it was appointing Ty H. Gilmore to serve in the newly created position of “president of Tilray’s U.S. beer business.”
On Monday, Gilmore said that, through the deal with Anheuser-Busch “our beer business is expected to triple in size from 4 million cases to 12 million cases annually.”
“Looking ahead, we will further capitalize on the potential of these brands through product innovation, retailer partnerships and expanded distribution into key markets, including the Pacific Northwest and California,” Gilmore said.