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Retail Marijuana Market Undercutting Beer Sales

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Beer sales are falling in states that permit the sale of retail marijuana to adults, according a recent report by the New York-based research firm Cowen & Company

Their analysis indicated that beer sales by several of the larger domestic producers, such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, have “collectively underperformed” the past two years in Colorado, Oregon and Washington State. “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,” they concluded.

Denver is taking the biggest hit with a 6.4% decline in beer sales. The national beer consumption decline is between 2.4%–4.4%.

In July, MarketWatch reported that adults spend about the same annually ($645) on marijuana products as they do on alcohol.

A 2014 scientific review published in Alcohol and Alcoholism posited that cannabis primarily acts as a substitute for alcohol rather than as a complement: “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorders), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol.”


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