Following its acquisition by Canadian cannabis giant Tilray Brands last year, Long Island’s Montauk Brewing is expanding its distribution beyond the Northeast for the first time.
Earlier this year, the brewery expanded distribution to the surrounding states of Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Now, as an initial step in furthering its footprint, Montauk Brewing has expanded its distribution to Georgia -- where Tilray Brands has an existing foothold through SweetWater Brewing. The Atlanta-based brewery marked Tilray’s initial craft beer acquisition in 2020 and has since rapidly expanded its distribution network. Its beers are now available in retailers, bar, and restaurants throughout the state, according to Tilray Brands. The brand plans to further expand to other U.S. major markets later in the year.
“This is a huge moment for Montauk Brewing, as we begin a sustainable path to becoming a national brand. Since Montauk Brewing was founded 11 years ago, the buzz around its innovative, easy-drinking beers has spread far beyond New York,” Ty Gilmore, president of U.S. Beer at Tilray, said in a statement. ”Consumers and retailers across the country constantly ask us when Montauk will be available in their cities,” he added.
The news follows Tilray Brands’ acquisition of eight brands from global beer leader Anheuser-Busch's Brewers Collective craft beer unit, further building out its portfolio and, presumably, helping create a broader distribution network that will aid in Montauk Brewing’s expansion into a national brand.
Tilray seems to be following a similar playbook to the approach it took with SweetWater: strategically investing in a regional powerhouse and rapidly expanding its distribution network into new markets in a bid to grow it into a national brand. The company will have to navigate a tricky marketplace in the process. National craft breweries in particular have struggled lately, but Tilray’s apparent strategy of developing distribution channels to expand regional powerhouses and shake up that category could land with beer drinkers looking for new options -- could make life even harder for more firmly established national craft brands.
The brewery has become a leading craft beer brand by sales volume, even with the limitations of regional distribution. According to Brewbound, Tilray’s acquisition of the brand was valued at around $35 million.