A Canadian cannabis company may soon own your favorite craft beer brands

A worker checks beer quality at Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery in Leuven

Reuters

Canadian cannabis company Tilray is one of the biggest craft beer sellers in the US.
On Monday, Anheuser-Busch said it was selling 8 craft beer brands to Tilray.
The deal comes amid slowing sales of craft beers in the US – and a controversy that has hurt sales of Bud Light.

Popular craft beer brands like Shock Top and Blue Point could soon have a new owner.

Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch said on Monday that it was selling off eight of its craft beer brands to a Canadian cannabis company that’s been inching into the craft beer space for quite some time now.

The deal, valued at $85 million according to securities filings, would give Tilray Brands ownership of Shock Top, Breckenridge Brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Square Mile Cider Company, and HiBall Energy.

Tilray says it expects the all-cash deal to close this year. It would make Tilray the 5th-largest craft beer company in the US, up from its 9th place ranking today, according to analysts from Jefferies. Sales from the new brands are expected to bring in about $180 million annually for the company, according to Jefferies. TD Cowen analysts said that Tilray’s beverage brands will bring in $300 million annually.

Tilray’s original focus was selling cannabis in Canada. In recent years, however, the company has moved into other lines of business in the US, including CBD products and alcohol. In November, the company bought New York-based craft brewer Montauk Brewing Company. It also owns craft brewer SweetWater Brewing Company and spirits company Breckenridge Distillery.

Cannabis plants grow inside the Tilray factory hothouse in Cantanhede, Portugal.

Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Canadian cannabis companies are allowed to trade publicly on US stock exchanges, but are prohibited from selling marijuana in the US because it remains illegal on the federal level, despite being legalized for recreational use in almost two dozen states and Washington D.C. 

In July, alcohol giant Anheuser-Busch said that it had laid off hundreds of employees after lagging US sales and a wave of conservative backlash that focused on a promotion by transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

The deal also comes in light of slowing sales for craft beers in the US. TD Cowen analysts said that craft beer sales declined 6% in 2021 and 9% last year. 

Anheuser-Busch told the Wall Street Journal it remains “committed to other craft beer brands in its portfolio,” which include around a dozen brands after the deal with Tilray. 

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