While cannabis has not yet been federally legalized in the U.S., Aphria, a Canadian cannabis company, is laying down the rails in preparation for looser regulations across the country.
It’s throwing down $300 million to acquire SweetWater Brewing Company, an Atlanta-based beer maker known for a drink that tastes and smells like pot without the actual substance. For Aphria, which currently has no operations stateside, the acquisition is a way to introduce its own brand to the U.S. and also launch THC beverages in Canada.
“Aphria expects to leverage SweetWater’s innovation, manufacturing, marketing and distribution infrastructure in the southeast with expansion opportunities across the U.S. for craft beer and cannabis products, subject to federal legalization of cannabis,” Aphria CEO Irwin Simon said in an analyst call Wednesday. And because of its brand of marijuana-esque beers, SweetWater is “well aligned with the cannabis lifestyle.”
Beer companies have struggled as drinkers have opted for new options such as canned wines or spiked seltzers like White Claw. Beer giants such as Constellation Brands have sought to diversify their offerings by expanding into cannabis-related products. The now $34 billion company behind Corona took a stake in marijuana company Canopy Growth three years ago.
And Aphria may well be hoping to throw all of these trends together: “I mentioned earlier SweetWater’s recent entry into rapidly growing hard seltzer,” Simon said during the call. “We believe the hard seltzer could be a very attractive form of cannabis products and develop over time, and we look for SweetWater to be a strong competitor to White Claw and Truly.”
Aphria will pay $250 million in cash and $50 million in stock.
The deal comes as Arizona, New Jersey, and Dakota voted this week to legalize recreational marijuana.
TIKTOK PARENT SEEKS A $180 BILLION VALUATION: ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, is in talks with investors including Sequoia to raise $2 billion at a $180 billion valuation, per Bloomberg. The discussions come ahead of a potential IPO of some of its businesses in Hong Kong, and, of course, an unforgettable battle with the Trump administration over a ban on TikTok in the U.S. The app is still awaiting approval from U.S. and Chinese regulators over a proposed deal that would have Walmart and Oracle take on a 20% stake in the business.
In particular, ByteDance is said to be considering an IPO of TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin.