Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing sold to Canadian cannabis company

Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing sold to Canadian cannabis company
The Sweetwater brewery is in Midtown and currently brews 100,000 barrels of beer a year. (Nelson Hicks)

ATLANTA — Atlanta-born SweetWater Brewing announced on Wednesday they are in the process of being sold to a cannabis company.

Aphria Inc, based in Leamington, Ontario announced they will purchase the brewery, located on Ottley Dr. in Northeast Atlanta, for $300 million.

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SweetWater was the 14th largest craft brewing operation in the U.S. this year, according to the independent Craft Brewers Association. The brewery distributes beer in 27 states plus Washington D.C. Their beer is available in over 29,000 locations in those states.

SweetWater says their beer production over the past year has increased by 7%, twice the growth of the craft beer market nationally.

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Sweetwater Brewing was one of the first craft brewers in the state of Georgia. It was founded by Freddy Bensch and a group of his friends back in 1997.

In the past few years, the company expanded their beer lineup with a series of cannabis-based brews. Their first cannabis based beer, 420 Strain G13 IPA, became the top new craft brand in the U.S. in the first 12 months after its launch, according to the Brewers Association.

“Our strong balance sheet and access to capital have enabled us to enter the U.S. through this strategic and accretive acquisition. 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 legalization,” said Aphria CEO Irwin Simon.

“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. 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. We will leverage our growing beverage offering and build an even stronger, more diversified company with a continued focus on authentic and distinctive brands using some of the freshest, most flavorful ingredients to create innovative and high-quality beverages including beers, seltzers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages that our loyal and growing consumer base has come to expect from SweetWater, said Bensch.

According to the agreement, SweetWater will become a subsidiary of Aphria with the deal expected to close before the end of this year.

Sweetwater's Brew Your Cask Off includes lot of beer, Elvis