Looks like legal cannabis is bringing bad news to the beer industry.
That’s according to Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G) who surveyed 40,000 beer drinkers in 2016 and found that 27% of them said they’ve either already made the switch from beer to weed, or would if marijuana became legal in their area.
C2G projects that legal cannabis could inhale 7.1% of the beer industry’s revenue, and that the beer business would lose out on more than $2 billion in sales if marijuana were to become nationally legal.
This isn’t all hypothetical either. Another research firm claimed last year that legal cannabis was already putting the hurt on the beer industry in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. In those states beer markets have “collectively underperformed” and fallen behind growth in the rest of the country.
The big boys were hurt worst of all. Anheuser Busch-InBev and MilllerCoors saw the sales of their beers drop between 2.4% and 4.4%. Craft breweries didn’t get off either. They saw their sales trail behind those in other markets across the country.
And just what are the deep-pocketed beer conglomerates going to do about this sea change in intoxicant of choice? C2G adviseses that the key for beer companies who want to offset their losses due to legal weed is to know their enemy.
“Consumers use cannabis to satisfy various need social, medical and experiential need states,” says Rich Maturo, C2G’s Chief Innovation Officer. “By understanding these needs, those at risk of losing sales to cannabis can try to offset some of the losses by understanding and speaking to a consumer’s needs… Those companies that are gathering insights on cannabis and have the foresight to see it as presenting an opportunity in addition to a risk will fare much better than those who strictly take a defensive position.”
But it looks like some in the alcohol are more prone to take that defensive position. One of those hacked DNC emails last summer revealed that Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, a lobbyist group that represents booze pushers, has been trying to stop Washington lawmakers from getting too friendly with the marijuana industry, encouraging them to draft regulations “to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.”
Sounds like maybe those uptight evil corporate suits could stand to switch to weed themselves and mellow out a little.
Photo via Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski