New Report Flags Cannabis’s Long-Term Threat to Alcohol Industry

Is the alcohol industry worried about the encroaching popularity of legal cannabis? They should be after a new report conducted by alcohol industry research group International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) and BDS Analytics, which collects and analyzes cannabis market data.

“Our research shows that up to 40% of adults 21 and over consume cannabis in states where it’s legal,” Jessica Lukas, BDS Analytics Vice President, said in a press release. “Cannabis presents substantial opportunities across consumer industries, including new occasions that alcohol cannot and will not play. Consumers will continue to look to cannabis products over alcohol for occasions when they are feeling creative, need to get motivated, or seeking health, medical or wellness benefits.”

The threat to alcohol isn’t necessarily imminent nor immediate. Rather, the researchers warn that alcohol industry professionals should be aware of cannabis’s increasing popularity among core groups, anticipate changing demands over time, and adapt with new marketing strategies.

In addition to the long-term threat cannabis may pose to alcohol, the researchers made the following interesting discoveries:

• Alcohol consumption remains high in cannabis legal states. It is twice as high among legal-aged adults than cannabis consumption.

• Two-thirds of cannabis consumers in fully legal cannabis markets consume alcohol. Among alcohol consumers, however, cannabis is used by just one-third.

• More than 50% say they have paired cannabis and alcohol, but few do it regularly. When pairing occurs, alcohol consumption is reportedly lower.

• Baby Boomers prefer exclusive alcohol use far more than their millennial counterparts. Millennials are increasingly interchanging cannabis and alcohol or preferring cannabis all together.