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Canadian cannabis company buys craft brewery

Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc has announced plans to buy a craft brewery in the US known for its “420” themed beers.

(Photo: Sweetwater)

Aphria said it has entered an agreement to buy Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Co. for around US$300 million, which is well known in the state for its stoner-focused marketing.

Global brewers have invested time and resources in north America’s burgeoning cannabis drinks industry within the past five years, with most launching beverages that are infused with THC – the psychoactive component of the plant – or CBD, which is regularly cited as reducing stress or muscle pain.

Sweetwater, which was founded in 1997 by two university friends, does not make THC or CBD beers yet, but does target drinkers with an interest in cannabis through its 420 beer brands and an annual festival held on 20 April.

Sweetwater also recently launched a hard seltzer flavoured with terpenes, which give cannabis its distinctive flavour.

“Our 420 brand offerings and SweetWater 420 Fest complement Aphria’s cannabis business and create mutual opportunities for accelerated expansion into other cannabis- and beverage-related products in the U.S. and Canada,” Sweetwater’s founder and chief executive Freddy Bensch said on Wednesday.

“We will establish and grow our U.S. presence through SweetWater’s robust, profitable platform of craft brewing innovation, manufacturing, marketing and distribution expertise. At the same time, we will build brand awareness for our adult-use cannabis brands, Broken Coast, Good Supply, Riff and Solei, through our participation in the growing $29 billion craft brew market in the U.S. ahead of potential future state or federal cannabis legalisation,” said Irwin D. Simon, Aphria’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“We look forward to building upon the strengths of each of our respective and complementary brands, diversifying our product offering, broadening our consumer reach, and enhancing loyalty with consumers.”

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