Beer has been a staple of American culture for as long as baseball and apple pie. But it seems America’s tastes for a good old-fashioned cold one is shifting to other alternatives, like cannabis, as tastes and lifestyles change — and beer makers are taking notice.
Beer sales have been on the decline in recent years, recording a 1 percent drop by volume in 2017 and 2018, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group for small and independent brewers. While 1 percent may not seem like much, domestic beer sales have continued to trend downward, with consumers opting for pricey wines or craft beer — or skipping alcohol altogether, according to data from IWSR, which analyzes data for the beverage industry.
There is also evidence that consumers are shifting consumption to cannabis instead of alcohol, particularly in states where it’s legal.
One study showed that in counties in states where cannabis is legal for medical use, monthly alcohol sales dropped 13 percent.
“We’re seeing a drop in alcohol consumption or a difference in the way people drink,” said Luis M. Alcalde, an Ohio-based cannabis lawyer. “If people are doing cannabis, they aren’t drinking a lot of alcohol.”
Capitalizing on this trend, beer makers are pouring money into cannabis companies, both in an effort to diversify product lines and to catch the explosive growth occurring in the cannabis industry.