Last week, Tilray — one of the world’s biggest cannabis companies — announced that it had acquired eight craft breweries and beverage brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest macrobrewer. The news comes to us three years after Tilray acquired SweetWater Brewing Company in 2020 and just nine months after the cannabis company’s acquisition of Montauk Brewing Company.
An $85 million dollar deal, the bold acquisition has potentially bizarre implications for both Tilray and AB InBev, not to mention the American craft beer industry at large. While it may seem like nickels and dimes to AB InBev, it shows that the beer giant is eager to shed some of its craft portfolio, a direct contrast to its business tactics of the last 10 plus years. However, Tilray CEO Irwin Simon is resoundingly optimistic, claiming in a recent earnings conference that “craft beer is cool, and will become cooler.”
Of the acquired brands, Shock Top isn’t far removed from some of the fruity, big beers that are flourishing right now like New Belgium’s Juice Force IPA. While Shock Top is undoubtedly passé in 2023, perhaps the spiced wheat ale is poised for a comeback with the right marketing behind it. The whole acquisition seems like a risk, but maybe it’s not as risky as we all initially thought.
On today’s special episode of “Taplines,” host Dave Infante is joined by VinePair’s managing editor and the host of the “Cocktail College” podcast Tim McKirdy to talk about this piece of beer history in the making.