Cannabis company Aphria to acquire Atlanta beer giant SweetWater Brewing Company

CONCOURSE B (B31) -- SweetWater Last Cast Bar & Grill: The spot serves some of SweetWater's most popular brews and a casual  food menu with grab-and-go items including pretzel bites with 420 Extra Pale Ale mustard sauce and creole shrimp hoagies
CONCOURSE B (B31) -- SweetWater Last Cast Bar & Grill: The spot serves some of SweetWater's most popular brews and a casual food menu with grab-and-go items including pretzel bites with 420 Extra Pale Ale mustard sauce and creole shrimp hoagies

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company, one of the largest independent craft breweries in the U.S., is set to be acquired in a $300 million deal by Canadian cannabis company Aphria by the end of the year.

The brewery’s portfolio of beers, including its 420 Strain G13 IPA made with hemp flavors, “closely aligns with a cannabis lifestyle,” according to a press release, as well as its branding with events such as the annual SweetWater 420 Fest.

In addition to its beers, SweetWater recently ventured into the hard seltzer market, with products infused with plant-based, fruit-forward terpenes.

ExploreSweetWater Brewing celebrates 23 years with some major new milestones

Aphria CEO Irwin D. Simon said the acquisition will allow the company to “build brand awareness for our adult-use cannabis brands” ahead of “potential future state or federal cannabis legalization”. The agreement will allow Aphria to use SweetWater’s U.S. infrastructure to build awareness for its brands.

Founded in 1997 by Freddy Bensch, SweetWater distributes across 27 states and Washington, D.C.

“We are excited by the opportunity to join a leading global cannabis company and build a successful future based on the strengths we both bring to this combination,” Bensch said in a prepared statement.

As part of the agreement, Bensch will remain SweetWater’s CEO, and will operate in a consulting capacity through 2023.

SweetWater’s primary 158,000 square-foot brewing facility, which also includes a taproom with a restaurant and tasting room as well as a live music venue, is located at 195 Ottley Drive in Atlanta. The property also includes the Woodlands, a barrel-aging and sour beer facility that opened in 2016.

Headquartered in Leamington, Ontario, Aphria Inc. produces adult-use cannabis brands including Broken Coast, Good Supply, Riff and Solei.

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