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Uncle Arnie's cannabis beverage startup lands backing from Boston Beer Co. founding partners and other big names

By Steve Gelsi

Two founding partners of Boston Beer Co. and the former CEO of Ally Financial Inc. are among the investors in a new round of capital to fuel the expansion of U.S.-based cannabis beverage maker Uncle Arnie's, MarketWatch has learned.

As Uncle Arnie's moves from its launch in California in 2020 to Oregon, Nevada and Michigan, among other states, it has lined up an undisclosed round of financing from some high-profile names from the beer world and Wall Street.

The investment will help Uncle Arnie's expand into more states, with a goal of reaching net income profitability by the end of this year, the company said.

Harry Rubin and Lorenzo Lamadrid, who co-founded Samuel Adams beer maker Boston Beer Co. (SAM) in 1984 with Jim Koch and Rhonda Kallman, are now investors in Uncle Arnie's.

Another high-profile backer of Uncle Arnie's is Michael Carpenter, who is the former CEO of Ally Financial Inc. ALLY. He was also a long-time senior executive at Citigroup Inc. C, where he headed up investment banking and corporate finance. Nick Carpenter, who is a venture capital investor and son of Michael Carpenter, is also an investor in Uncle Arnie's.

The four investors said Los Angeles-based Uncle Arnie's is offering them the opportunity to back a leading company "in one of the highest growth segments of the beverage industry" and that they're looking forward to "helping them seize their significant expansion opportunities," according to a statement.

Uncle Arnie's CEO Theo Terris said the financial backing from the quartet of investors validates the company and its business plan, "especially in the current market, which has been challenging for cannabis companies looking to raise capital."

Also Read:Angel tech investor launches Gotham cannabis store with fresh New York City retail look

While alcohol giant Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) has backed Canada's Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.T) as one major example of traditional companies moving into cannabis, most U.S.-based financial firms and venture capital firms continue to avoid any domestic cannabis investments due to the current status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance under federal law.

However, wealthy individuals have been able to wade into the cannabis business for investments. For example, Chad Dyer, who was chief information officer at Sequoia Capital for 13 years, is an investor along with his wife Tenah Dyer in the $50 million People's Group Fund, which is aimed at minority entrepreneurs in the legal marijuana business.

Also Read: This Latina cannabis CEO won a Silicon Valley veteran as seed investor in $50 million venture capital fund aimed at minorities

After launching three years ago in California, Uncle Arnie's has sold more than 1 million units, with seven of the top 10 best-selling cannabis beverage products in California in both total unit volume and total dollar sales, according to Headset, a leading cannabis market data provider.

Uncle Arnie's moved into Oregon in late 2022, and launched in Nevada last week. It currently sells its products in more than 600 licensed dispensaries, with plans to begin selling in Michigan this summer.

The company also said its revenue grew between 200% and300% each year.

Uncle Arnie's was advised by corporate law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP in its fundraising effort.

Also Read:Union Square Travel Agency cannabis store teams up with Doobie Delivery to offer pre-ordered pot to your doorstep

-Steve Gelsi

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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06-13-23 0813ET

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