Home Culture Legal Cannabis Could Be Hurting the Beer Industry

Legal Cannabis Could Be Hurting the Beer Industry


In states where recreational cannabis is now legal, more adults are choosing bongs and bowls over brews, a recent research report on the market suggests. The research firm Cowen and Company conducted the study in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. These three states have both legal recreational cannabis and a popular craft beer culture.

According to the study, beer markets in those three states have “collectively underperformed” over the last two years. All three states have seen fewer overall beer sales than their nationwide counterparts, according to statistics reported by beer industry website Brewbound. While correlation certainly doesn’t automatically equal causation, the figures are indicative of the declining interest in alcohol consumption in legal cannabis states.

“With all three of these states now having fully implemented a marijuana retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” the report said.

Conglomerate domestic brewers such as Anheuser Busch-InBev and Miller-Coors have experienced the largest drops in overall sales. The number of sales of Coors Light and Bud Light in those states saw a downturn of 4.4% in 2016, according to the industry report.

Smaller independent craft breweries also saw a drop in overall performance. Despite the fact that craft brews continue to grow in popularity in comparison to the big names, smaller breweries aren’t performing as well as they may have expected. The popularity of legal cannabis has also begun to impact the alcohol industry as a whole. Individual yearly legal weed sales have already outpaced that of booze, according to a survey conducted in July of 2016.

Denver has seen the biggest drop in overall beer sales – total sales have been reduced by 6.4% in the state. Government data suggests that the under 25 crowd uses more cannabis, yet drinks less alcohol.

One possible solution to the recent downturn of alcohol sales could be for breweries and bars to advocate for the public consumption of cannabis. Not only would this be a good look as far as public perception goes, but it could boost their bottom line. This could open up the possibility for more alcohol sales, as not everyone prefers weed to booze. As long as everyone’s consuming responsibly, someone might want to smoke a joint while his or her friends might want to sip a brew or have a glass of wine. But as you probably already know, there exists an almost endless amount of bureaucracy regarding the consumption of these two substances, so we aren’t likely to see establishments doing that anytime soon.