8th Wonder Brewery, Distillery, and Cannabis, a craft brewery located in East Downtown Houston, Texas, is set to be acquired by Bayou City Hemp. 8th Wonder is not only known for its craft beverages but also for the decor of its taproom inspired by the Houston Astrodome, the world's first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium.
Through the acquisition, Bayou City, one of the first and largest hemp processors in Texas, will merge with 8th Wonder, combining their brewing and distilling capabilities, and their distribution network.
The transaction follows a similar rationale to Aphria Inc., a major Canadian cannabis company, which acquired Atlanta, Georgia-based SweetWater Brewing Company, one of the top fifteen craft breweries in the United States, in November 2020 to secure a manufacturing and distribution network for their beverage products. (inside.beer, 4.11.2020)
One month after the SweetWater purchase, Aphria merged withTilray Brands Inc., another leading Canadian cannabis company that had a joint-venture with ABInBev’s subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada. (inside.beer, 16.12.2020) Subsequently the JV was dissolved and Tilrayacquired two years later Montauk Brewing Company the #1 craft brewer in Metro New York. (inside.beer, 7.11.2022)
Bayou City Hemp intends to allocate significant resources and capital to promote the 8th Wonder brand and secure shelf space throughout Texas, as mentioned by CEO Benjamin Meggs in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. 8th Wonder products are currently available at retailers such as H-E-B and Kroger in the Houston area. Additionally, the companies recently partnered with Flood Independent Distribution, based in Austin, to expand their beverage offerings to retailers, grocers, and restaurants across the state.
Meggs also emphasized that while they plan to upgrade 8th Wonder's brewery, taproom, distillery, and beer garden, they will preserve the essence of this iconic establishment. "This is not merely an acquisition; it is a bold declaration of our intent to lead and innovate in the heart of Texas," Meggs said.
Since 2021, the two companies have been working together in collaboration. They introduced Wonder Water, a nonalcoholic seltzer infused with CBD and THC from Bayou City.
Initially established as a craft brewery in 2011, 8th Wonder added in 2018 a distillery across the street, offering in-house vodka, rum, and other spirits. In 2022, they further expanded by launching 8th Wonder Cannabis, a dispensary that sells hemp-derived products like gummies and vapes from the corner of the distillery.
As part of the transaction, Aaron Corsi and Ryan Soroka, the co-founders of 8th Wonder, will join Bayou City as the chief operating officer and chief brand and marketing officer, respectively. The combined company will employ a total of 50 individuals.
Soroka expressed his aspirations for 8th Wonder, stating, "From the very beginning of 8th Wonder, our aim has been to build a company that lasts for a century. This transaction will provide the leadership and resources necessary to achieve that vision. We eagerly anticipate a rejuvenated and revitalized 8th Wonder as we move forward with Bayou City Hemp into the exciting future of the beverage and cannabis industries."
Bayou City Hemp, founded in 2019 following the legalization of hemp in Texas, focuses on processing hemp and producing various CBD and THC products, ranging from beverages to shampoo. The company has been advocating for nonalcoholic cannabis beverages as a means to expand cannabis usage through a familiar and accessible format. THC is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis, while CBD, also found in cannabis, does not contain THC. CBD is often used as an alternative treatment for pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other ailments.