Industry News

Tilray to buy Shock Top and 7 other Anheuser-Busch-owned Beverage Brands

Brewery Acquistion
As reported in Craft Brewing Business, Canada-based cannabis lifestyle and consumer packaged goods company Tilray Brands has been buying a few renowned craft breweries every year since 2020. Today brings its largest single acquisition yet.

Tilray entered into a definitive agreement with Anheuser-Busch to acquire eight beer and beverage brands:

  • Shock Top,
  • Breckenridge Brewery,
  • Blue Point Brewing Company,
  • 10 Barrel Brewing Company,
  • Redhook Brewery,
  • Widmer Brothers Brewing,
  • Square Mile Cider Company, and
  • HiBall Energy.

The brands remaining under the “Craft Partners” list on A-B’s website are Cisco Brewers, Devil’s Backbone, Elysian Brewing, Four Peaks Brewing, Golden Road, Goose Island, Karbach Brewing, Omission Brewing, Veza Sur, Virtue Cider, Wicked Weed and Wynwood Brewing.

Talks of this deal started earlier in the year, according to Andy Thomas, President of The High End at Anheuser-Busch, when Tilray Brands reached out with interest in purchasing these brands and breweries. This transaction includes current employees, breweries and brewpubs associated with these brands. The purchase price will be paid in all cash and the transaction is expected to close in 2023.

Tilray already owns SweetWater Brewing Co., Montauk Brewing Co., Alpine Beer Company and Green Flash Brewing Co. Tilray Brands also owns Breckenridge Distillery and Happy Flower CBD sparkling non-alcoholic cocktails.

The expected sales volume of the acquired brands will elevate Tilray Brands to the 5th largest “craft beer business” position in the U.S., using the Beer Institute’s definition, up from the 9th. Put another way:

“With this transaction, our beer business is expected to triple in size from 4 million cases to 12 million cases annually,” states Ty Gilmore, President, U.S. Beer at Tilray Brands.

In terms of actual real estate, this acquisition involves:

  • Four production facilities across the U.S.: Portland, OR, Bend, OR, Littleton, CO and Patchogue, N.Y.
  • Eight vibrant brewpub locations: Seattle, WA, Bend, OR (2), Portland, OR, Boise, ID, Littleton, CO, Breckenridge, CO, and Patchogue, N.Y.

What’s next?

“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 says.

The big domino that Tilray still really wants to fall is that of federal cannabis legalization — which incredibly has (still) not happened despite being seemingly legal in every state. That was a big reason it started this whole craft beer portfolio with SweetWater Brewing and its 420 brands.

If legalization ever happens, Tilray is ready leverage its wide distribution network and portfolio to own the THC-based products space. To that end, the press release highlights the “distribution relationships through the Anheuser-Busch system, strengthening our distribution footprint nationwide,” as a key to the deal.

“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,” stated Irwin D. Simon, Chairman and CEO, Tilray Brands. “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.”

In November 2020, Tilray (it was just Aphria then, later merging with Tilray) made its first big splash, purchasing SweetWater Brewing Co., the 10th largest craft brewer in the nation. Late last year, it was SoCal’s Alpine and Green Flash brands along with Breckenridge Distillery in Colorado. In November 2022, Tilray added New York’s Montauk Brewing Co.

Attribution: Article Retrieved from Craft Brewing Business, written By Chris Crowell .

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