Legalizing recreational cannabis in New York has impacted life in many ways. While the expected changes are underway—CBD stores and plans for dispensaries on the East End—the move by Tilray Brands to purchase Montauk Brewing has caught many local beer lovers by surprise. The initial responses around the Hamptons have been a mix of happiness for the brewers and anxiety over what the sale will mean for the brewery’s future.
At this time, no announcement has been made disclosing the details and financial terms of the deal.
Vaughn Cutillo, co-founder and Montauk local, has expressed excitement about the partnership while allaying fears that the brewery will change. Speaking over the phone to the East Hampton Star, Vaughn reassured locals that the business operations—including current staff and taproom. “I think it’s time that we have a really good, strong partner. We’re excited.”
“[Tilray] want us to run the business. They don’t want to shake things up. They obviously offer a lot of synergies in what they can offer in terms of distribution . . . but our team is staying on board. They want to keep everybody and grow the brand,” Vaughn told the East Hampton Star.
Since its opening in 2012, Montauk Brewing has enjoyed enormous success in New York and around the country. Driven by the popularity of its seltzers and ales, the brewery was listed in the Brewers Association’s top 50 sales by volume list in 2020. In 10 years as an independent firm, Montauk Brewery became one of America’s largest craft brewers. Montauk Brewing Company has more than 6,400 distribution points across retailers such as Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Walmart.
According to Forbes, Tilray Brands is the largest cannabis company in the world by total assets. Their purchase of Montauk Brewing, Metro New York’s biggest craft brewery, comes amidst a flurry of acquisitions to the firm’s already impressive portfolio of alcohol businesses. In 2020 and 2021 the company purchased other breweries and distilleries, including Sweetwater in Atlanta and Colorado’s Breckenridge Distillery.
Tilray’s CEO, Irwin D. Simon said in a press statement, “We are excited to welcome Montauk Brewing’s founders Vaughan Cutillo and Eric Moss, as well as Terry Hopper, Montauk Brewing’s General Manager, to the Tilray Brands family and I look forward to working closely with Ty Gilmore to maximize the performance of our enormously powerful craft and lifestyle beverage brand portfolio.”
Most importantly, will the cans still sport their iconic sailing flag motif? What will become of the down-to-earth vibes at the brewery in downtown Montauk? Will materials and be outsourced for cheaper alternatives? Most critically – will they still serve blue bags of Ruffles??
Social media has been buzzing since the announcement was made.
- “Good for MTK brewing but hopefully we can still all come as we are .”
- “I feel good for them but another conglomerate owning a piece of Montauk…”.
- “They’re such a great little company. And to all the people who gave them flack – ha! Y’all can go home now.”
- “I’m hoping this is a very early April fool’s joke!”
- “They wanna acquire a pickle company too???”