Cannabis company Tilray to buy whiskey maker Breckenridge Distillery

TORONTO — Cannabis company Tilray Inc. on Thursday said it would purchase Colorado-based Breckenridge Distillery, a maker of bourbon and rye whiskey, to boost its supply of alcohol sold in the United States.

Tilray, which is listed on the Nasdaq and Toronto Stock Exchange, said its 4.4 percent stake in the Colorado company would be worth about $46 million if the deal is finalized, and gives it access to the state’s 103-year-old distillery.

“We think this adds value to our business by continuing to grow in the U.S.,” Tilray Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy said in an interview. “One of the unique places we are at with cannabis is that we can build amazing beverages around the world that consumers are asking for.”

Tilray did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Its shares rose 2.5 percent to C$144.51 in Toronto, a record high.

Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, paving the way for the sector’s expansion.

But at the same time, other states like New Jersey and Virginia are considering legislation to limit access to marijuana.

Tilray’s acquisition of Breckenridge is its second after it bought Oregon-based MedMen, a California-based cannabis retailer, for about $682 million in August. Tilray now has a presence in 13 states and British Columbia.

Kennedy said he sees “a lot of creative” opportunities to expand the category Tilray has built around cannabis-infused beverages.

“There’s a lot of work and a lot of work to do, but it’s exciting,” he said.

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