Montauk Brewing Company Joins Tilray’s Stable of Craft Brewers
Just 10 years after its founding by homebrewing high school buddies, Montauk Brewing Company has joined the big leagues of the craft brewing world. The fast-growing brewery was acquired in November by Tilray Brands, Inc., the world’s largest cannabis company by revenues with operations in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and Latin America.
Montauk Brewing joined Tilray’s expanding U.S. beverage alcohol segment, which already includes Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company, acquired by Tilray in 2020. Sweetwater is the 10th largest craft brewer in the U.S. with distribution across more than 40 states, while Montauk Brewing was listed as the 49th largest U.S. craft brewer in 2020 by the Brewers Association. Tilray also owns the Alpine and Green Flash craft beer brands in Southern California and a leading bourbon and spirits brand, Breckenridge Distillery.
Tilray’s commented in a statement, “Montauk Brewing is well known for its beloved product portfolio, premium price point, and distribution across over 6,400 points of distribution, including top national retailers.”
TIlray’s CEO Irwin D. Simon added, “Tilray Brands intends to leverage SweetWater’s existing nationwide infrastructure and Montauk Brewing’s northeast influence to significantly expand our distribution network and drive profitable growth in our beverage-alcohol segment.”
Tilray also hopes to be a first mover in launching craft beverages with cannabis-based additives following potential federal legalization of marijuana in the U.S. The company owns Manitoba Harvest, a hemp, CBD and wellness products maker with distribution to 17,000 retail stores in North America.
Although he was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Simon is no stranger to Long Island. After moving to the U.S., he founded Hain Celestial Group in 1993 and built it into one of Long Island’s largest public companies. Simon left Hain, a leader in the organic and natural product sector, in 2018 to become CEO of Aphria, a large Canadian cannabis company. He led Aphria’s merger in 2021 with Tilray, another Canadian cannabis company, and became CEO of the merged company, which kept the Tilray name.
Simon is also familiar with the East End of Long Island, becoming a partner in late 2021 in the newly-opened second location of Lobster Roll aka LUNCH in Southampton. The Southampton location on Montauk Highway became the first year-round location for the iconic lobster shack located in Amagansett.
Montauk Brewing’s founders, Vaughan Cutillo and Eric Moss, will remain in place along with all other employees including general manager Terry Hopper. The founders were friends at East Hampton High School and after attending college in craft beer-crazy Colorado, Moss took up homebrewing and returned home with a dream to start a brewery in Montauk. Cutillo and Moss launched in 2012 with a small pilot brewing system to perfect their recipes and decided to contract brew their beers to expand distribution across the Northeast.
The brewery quickly developed a loyal following for its flavorful and easily drinkable beers, including Driftwood Ale, Wave Chaser IPA, Summer Ale and Watermelon Session Ale. In 2015, they opened a tap room in Montauk with a 7-barrel brewing system, which will remain open and continue to produce seasonal beers and support local community events.
Montauk Brewing is the second homegrown Long Island craft brewery to strike it big, following in the footsteps of Patchogue’s Blue Point Brewing. Blue Point was founded in 1998 and after several years of strong growth was acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 2014. Blue Point is now part of Anheuser-Busch’s Brewers Collective craft beverage unit, which includes breweries across the country including Goose Island Beer Company, Kona Brewing Company, Cisco Brewers, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company.
In the same way that Blue Point decided to seek a partner to help reach the next level, Montauk’s founders said they were looking to the future. Cutillo told the Press, “We are excited to have a good, strong partner that wants to keep everybody and grow the brand.”
Montauk Brewing Co. is located at 62 South Erie Avenue in Montauk. For more information visit montaukbrewingco.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.