This is becoming somewhat of a tradition. The leaves change, you carve pumpkins and start pricing turkeys, and Canada-based cannabis lifestyle and consumer packaged goods company Tilray Brands expands its presence in U.S. craft beer.
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. This year? Tilray heads to the Northeast, adding Montauk Brewing Co., which bills itself as the No. 1 craft brewer in Metro New York.
“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,” stated Irwin D. Simon, Chairman and CEO. “Montauk Brewing is an iconic brand with leading market share and distribution in the northeast.”
What’s coming for Montauk Brewing?
Tilray believes Montauk Brewing has potential to expand its customer base and grow throughout the U.S. as a true national brand. Tilray Brands intends to leverage SweetWater’s existing nationwide infrastructure (across more than 40 states) to accelerate Montauk Brewing’s distribution network and revenue growth.
To help get the ball rolling, Tilray has appointed veteran beverage industry executive Ty H. Gilmore as president of Tilray’s U.S. beer business, a newly created position. Gilmore joins Tilray from Glazer’s Beer and Beverage, where he had served since 2020 as executive vice president, overseeing sales, marketing and operations across 11 distributors in the south. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his nearly three-decade career at Diageo, in positions of increasing seniority including seven years leading national accounts.
What’s coming for Tilray?
Just as important as what Tilray can do for Montauk is what Montauk can do for Tilray. Building a U.S. distribution network is key to Tilray’s strategy, and this acquisition is a gateway into 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,” Simon says.
Montauk Brewing distributes across more than 6,400 points of distribution, including top national retailers such as Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Stop & Shop, King Kullen, Walmart, 7-Eleven, Costco, BJ’s, and Speedway.
This network will be leveraged by all of its consumer packaged goods brands and, eventually, its THC-based products when the U.S. wises up and legalizes it federally.