Beer Markets Are Down In States That Have Legalized Marijuana Sales


During the 2016 election, members of the alcohol industry donated to anti-legalization efforts. There are members of the marijuana alcohol industry that feel threatened by what a legalized marijuana industry would do to the alcohol industry. They reason that if people are able to consume marijuana legally, that they will choose marijuana more often than they do alcohol.

There appears to be some truth to that according to a recent report. Per Brewbound:

In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where recreational cannabis use has been legalized, the beer business is underperforming, according to Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors.

Azer unpacked the latest Nielsen data in those three states — beer markets that have “collectively underperformed” in the last two years — and found that “the magnitude of the underperformance has increased notably,” with beer volumes falling more than two percent year-to-date and trailing the overall U.S. beer market.

“While (marijuana) retail sales opened up in these markets at different points of time, with all three of these states now having fully implemented a retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” Azer wrote.

In 2015 overall alcohol sales were steady in Colorado compared to previous years according to media reports at the time. It could be that 2016 is just an anomaly, as established industry sales figures fluctuate, including the alcohol industry. The marijuana industry is not an established industry, and only time will tell how it affects other industries, alcohol or otherwise. I personally feel that if the analysis in the report from Cowen and Company proves to hold up over time, it will be good for society, as marijuana is undeniably safer than alcohol.

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