Tilray and Canopy Growth Are Pivoting to Beer and Energy Drinks

  • Big cannabis companies like Tilray and Canopy Growth are expanding into beverages.
  • The moves come as they lose market share in Canada’s competitive industry for recreational cannabis.
  • These companies are trying to figure out how to give their revenue — and stock prices — a boost.

It’s hard to make money in cannabis, so the world’s largest cannabis companies are pivoting.

They’re slowly but surely getting into beer and sports drinks, too.

The Canadian cannabis company Tilray in early November acquired Montauk Brewing Company, a New York craft-beer brewer. Tilray already owned SweetWater Brewing Company, an Atlanta-based craft brewer, and Breckenridge Distillery, a Colorado whiskey brand.

Tilray’s competitor Canopy Growth, one of the world’s largest cannabis companies, is the majority owner of BioSteel, a sports-beverage brand that has sponsorship deals with professional sports teams such as the Toronto Raptors and the Dallas Mavericks as well as high-profile athletes including Kansas City Chief quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

And both companies are led by executives with experience running traditional consumer-packaged goods and beverage companies. Tilray CEO Irwin Simon used to run Hain Celestial Group, a food and supplements company. Canopy Growth counts the Corona beermaker Constellation Brands among its largest investors and is run by David Klein, the alcohol giant’s former CFO.

‘Trying to be something different’

“I’m trying to be something different,” Simon said in an interview. “I’m trying to create the next generation of a cannabis, beer and spirits company that no one else is doing out there.”

He says that

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