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Is Beer Afraid of Weed?

Beer and Weed Cannabis Now Magazine
Photo by Elvert Barnes


Is Beer Afraid of Weed?

The word on the street is that the beer manufacturers are keeping a watchful eye on what is happening in the world of retail cannabis, mostly because they fear that an eruption of legalization efforts across the United States (like what it is predicted to happen in 2016) may turn the American beer drinker into a loyal stoner and eat away at the profits of its over $100 billion marketplace.

Although it may seem the cannabis industry has a long way to go before it is pulling down the kind of revenue comparable to the national brew houses, some of the latest statistics show that the business of marijuana is really not far from casting a shadow on brewers like Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, and this with only a handful of states allowing recreational pot sales.

A new ArcView Market Research report finds that legal cannabis sales are expected to reach $6.7 billion in the United States before the end of 2016. Impressively, analysts predict the total market will soon surpass the National Football League (NFL) as more states legalize pot sales across the nation — giving way to a cannabis industry that does nearly $22 billion in sales by 2020.

To put this in perspective, the national craft beer market currently rakes in around $20 billion in sales, while the NFL pulls down somewhere around $12 billon.

“I think that we are going to see in 2016 this next wave of investors, the next wave of business operators, and people who’ve sort of been watching or dipping their toe in, really starting to swing for the fences and take it really seriously,” ArcView CEO Troy Dayton told Fortune.

A recent report from Quartz indicates that members of the brewing industry in attendance of last week’s Beer Industry Summit touched on the rise of cannabis sales in some of their panel discussions. Although beer drinkers are a loyal breed of consumer, the brewing industry is concerned that as more states move towards legalization, it will cause them to lose another percentage of their customer base to marijuana. They fear this loss of market share could be a real possibility because the ongoing spiel among national marijuana advocacy groups, like the Marijuana Policy Project, is that weed is a safer alternative to drinking alcohol.

And with alcohol killing in upwards of 88,000 people annually in the U.S., it makes sense that eventually some will give serious consideration to weed, as a legal and safer alternative to achieving a buzz.

It has been speculated for many years that one of the primary hang-ups for nationwide marijuana legalization is the alcohol industry. Some reports have shown that companies who generate massive profits by selling beer, wine and liquor are in bed with federal lawmakers to the tune of millions of dollars. Unfortunately, this has prevented some politicians from standing up in favor of ending pot prohibition for fear that too loud a voice might cause them to lose substantial campaign contributions, and ultimately force them out of a job as one of American’s great uncivil servants.

Still, the marijuana industry continues to grow at an impressive rate, which will eventually lend itself to becoming just as, if not more powerful that other producers of socially acceptable inebriants sold all over the United States. The only real obstacle standing in the way of cannabis competing head to head with the brewing industry is that it remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Once Uncle Sam finally loosens the leash on this issue, it is conceivable that that weed could one day surpass beer sales, and perhaps even be featured in advertisements during the Super Bowl.

What do you think? Will beer drinkers turn to cannabis as it becomes legal across the nation?



  1. john

    February 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    For that reason i think that Anheuser should be worried, they’ve been making the lowest quality beer that you can find. I think tokers are more savvy about sourcing local products and organic too, and maybe that will eventually cut into their profits. serves them right for buying up all the Microbreweries though they are digging their own grave in my books. As soon as a microbrewery gets bought out, it automatically gets boycotted by me. So in effect they may take away the market share from them temporarily but not for long because another micro brewery will pop up in its place.

  2. john

    February 4, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    My thoughts are that craft beers and bongs go together like cheech and chong. but macro beer can get the hell out of here.

  3. Jim Ingles

    February 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I love your magazine and web site, I plan to subscribe soon. Going to Denver, Co the end of this month and can’t wait to get this off my bucket list. A legal state, I live in Virginia and can still get jail time for alittle weed. But we are making progress. Something that grow’s in the ground and helps so many should be legal. I’m 64 years old and have smoked since I was drafted into the US Army.

  4. Rod is on the Gas

    February 3, 2016 at 8:38 am

    No, beer isn’t afraid of weed, money managers today however, see some changing trends though.

    Step #1
    Has mankind consumed more beer than weed. Sure.

    Cannabis has served mankind longest. Sure.

    Beer is still considered sound nutrition, low in alky and good for breast feeding children.

    I believe that beer and cannabis are allies in man’s survival. The money manager’s sales pitches to prospective investors, however, reveal a never-ending fight for profits. Leave it to the bean-counters to screw-up a good thing.

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