Survey Says: One In Four Beer Drinkers Would Ditch Booze for Bud

By the numbers, booze is beginning to lose market share and consumer appeal.

Weed consumption is on the rise in the United States. This uptick in people lighting up or otherwise using cannabis more can be attributed to many different factors ranging from legislative shifts to increased access and information surrounding the plant. But one particularly notable piece of pro-pot propaganda is that consumers of all ages are seemingly choosing to use marijuana, over alcohol, more often.

According to data gathered by industry speculators, Cannabiz Consumer Group (CCG), which evaluates trends and statistics within the space, as much as 27 percent of current beer drinkers say they would trade out their booze buys for cannabis, should it be legalized. If that happens and the current trends continue, CCG predicts “legal marijuana will [cannibalize] 7.1 percent of revenues from the existing retail beer industry.”

As KINDLAND has previously covered, the beer industry is already experiencing revenue decreases in weed-legal states such as Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, with “mainstream” beer-makers taking a 4.4 percent hit there. 

It's difficult to make definitive claims one way or the other due to how fresh legal weed is in the U.S., but it's becoming harder to ignore or deny the building body of evidence for substitution. Research from Cowen & Co. shows the greatest turnover rate from alcohol to marijuana exists among low-income consumers. And among substance-consuming-teens, weed is becoming the go-to buzz, over booze.

From Complex, on a study by Project Know which examined teen substance abuse:

“When surveying teens in Washington, D.C., which had the highest rate of weed-smoking teens, 32 percent percent of them said they'd smoked in the past month, while only 14 percent copped to binge drinking. Other places where a high percentage of teens said they'd smoked included New Mexico, (27.8 percent), Washington (26.7 percent), Connecticut (26 percent) and Vermont (25.7 percent).”

The alcohol industry is reportedly weary of legal weed, sure, though logistics and distribution models utilized by the spirits sector have also served as blueprints for campaigns to regulate legal cannabis in states such as Nevada, where voters approved a recreational retail market in 2016. And also Arizona, where a similar measure failed to pass in November.

In California, voters said yes in November to Proposition 64, a well-funded and thought-to-be inclusive recreational adult-use initiative. One ancillary result of the California weed law: the same organizations currently earning major profits from distributing alcohol could potentially seize a massive piece of the Golden State’s marijuana market as well.

According to Politico:

“The rules are modeled on the system that emerged at the end of Prohibition to wrest control from mobsters and their illegal liquor empires. States required wholesalers to bring alcohol from the manufacturer to the retailer, a system that has proven fantastically lucrative for distribution companies. Some of those players are now poised to make millions of dollars as the middlemen in California’s burgeoning medical marijuana market.”

Since the end of prohibition, the alcohol industry has been shaped by, and become a contributing factor in the shaping of public policy and legislative decision-making. Legal weed may not be as established as alcohol just yet, but the emerging sector is certainly in the position––pending federal action or interference from President Trump’s administration––to move and shake up the status quo in a similar fashion.