Cannabis seller Tilray broadens footprint in the brewery business, closing deal with Anheuser-Busch

We are set to capitalize on a possible US cannabis legalization: Tilray Brands CEO Irwin Simon, chair and chief executive officer of Tilray Brands, joins BNN Bloomberg and discusses the possibilities for the company that would emerge if the US were to loosen cannabis regulations.

The cannabis company Tilray expanded its position in the craft brew industry, completing the acquisition of eight beer brands from Anheuser-Busch that it had announced over the summer.

Included in the deal are well-known labels like 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 acquisition comes with breweries and brewpubs associated with the labels.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, but Tilray said earlier this month when it announced the acquisition that it would be paying cash.

Tilray Brands had already entered the brewery space, in addition to cannabis sales. The New York City company also owns SweetWater Brewing Company, Montauk Brewing Company, Alpine Beer Company, and Green Flash Brewing Company.

“Tilray has acquired a stellar lineup of eight craft beer and beverage brands that both solidify our leadership in the craft beer industry and strengthen our business in the expansive beverage sector in which we see tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate innovation across many categories including non-alcoholic beverages, energy, and nutritional drinks,” Chairman and CEO Irwin Simon said in a prepared statement.

Tilray said that the transaction, which was announced in August, will triple its beer sales volume from four million cases to 12 million. The acquisition also provides additional manufacturing capacity and innovation capabilities for commercial expansion opportunities.

Anheuser-Busch has had a rough summer, including layoffs, after conservative figures and others called for a boycott of Bud Light because the brand sent a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April. A deluge of criticism and hate erupted soon after Mulvaney cracked open a Bud Light in an Instagram video.

The brewer said in August that it was confident that its U.S. market share had stabilized after sales tanked.

In June, Bud Light lost its place as America’s best-selling beer after more than two decades, slipping into second place behind Mexican lager Modelo Especial.

In the month ending July 22, Bud Light’s U.S. retail sales were down 26 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen data compiled by Bump Williams Consulting. Its year-over-year sales declines have been in the 25 per cent to 30 per cent range every month since the backlash began, the consulting company said.

Shares of Tilray fell more than 3 per cent Monday.