One of the bigger unknowns in the marijuana legalization movement is how the end of prohibition will affect the alcohol and tobacco industries. While current generations may not let legal weed curb their booze and cigarette cravings drastically, future generations may not see the benefit of straying from cannabis for a more dangerous alternative.
Understandably, beer companies are nervous about that precise possibility. On a recent conference call to discuss quarterly earnings, Molson Coors International CEO Stewart Glendinning gave some insight as to how his company was handling looming cannabis legalization. Asked by an analyst how the imminent legal marijuana market in Canada may affect beer sales, Glendinning answered, “Cannabis is something we are thinking very carefully about, not only as a business but also as an industry.”
Canada is set to introduce recreational marijuana legislation in the Spring that will legalize the plant nationwide.
“There’s just a lot we don’t know at the moment … It’s steady as she goes because of the lack of clarity about the deployment of the drug itself,” the Molson Coors CEO added.
What remains to be seen with Glendinning’s comments is whether his company is taking an offensive or defensive approach to the culture shift. Specifically, will these alcohol-focused conglomerates go all-in on booze and stay the course regardless of marijuana’s place in society, or will they embrace weed and explore infusion opportunities to supplement future declines in alcohol sales?
Glendinning went on to explain that Molson Coors is conducting their due diligence by investigating how legal marijuana has affected beer sales in Colorado, where the company’s headquarters are located.
Stephen Beaumont, a Canadian author that focuses on beer trends, said the Colorado-based breweries he’s familiar with have not reported any marijuana-related dips in revenue.
“On the West Coast of the United States, craft beer and marijuana have happily co-existed for quite some time.”
Cover Image Courtesy of Wall Street Journal