Although the cannabis industry is currently allowed to operate only on a state-by-state basis, there will come a day when marijuana is taxed and regulated at the national level, the same as alcohol and tobacco. Some of the latest data suggest that this reform will eventually lead to the employment of more than one million workers and generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $132 billion in federal tax revenue. However, when this happens, it will be more important than ever for cannabis companies to sell products that can survive the novelty of legalization. Industry leaders will be forced to manufacture products capable of becoming household names, just as the brewing industry has done with national beer brands, or else risk being swallowed up by the competition. Thus, there may be a need for a King of Cannabis.
It is conceivable that Blue Dream and GG4 will be among the leading strains getting American stoned again. However, there could also be a significant market for less potent strains.
Beer Business Shows Customer Want “Light” Alternatives
A recent analysis of the brewing industry found that Americans prefer light beer. For the first time in several decades, Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite have reportedly outsold their craft beer counterparts, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. This is interesting considering that Budweiser has been the leading beer sold in the United States for quite some time. It is now ranked at number two. The lighter version of the brew formally known as the King of Beers now sits in the top spot.
I know, I know, the cannabis industry, as a whole, doesn’t really give two flying squirts about the trends connected to the brew trade. But perhaps it should. After all, while it has been proven that beer and weed can harmoniously coexist, the cannabis industry is still trying to persuade the American consumer to give up their beer money. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing billboards in parts of California that read, “Hello Marijuana, Goodbye Hangover.”
The latest data shows that the $23 billion craft brew industry may have been a bit of a novelty in the beginning. Sure, people still enjoy IPAs, but the majority of the beer-drinking population simply prefers American lager. This is, in part, due to these watered down concoctions being easier to drink, less expensive and having a lower alcohol content.
Aside from high-CBD strains (the O’Doul’s of legal marijuana), there are not many strains available designed to help keep the pot-smoking consumer locked into a nice buzz without getting overly stoned. The closest strains on the market that produce this kind of mild effect are THCV Sativas, which top out at around 5 percent THC. This is significantly lower than the average 10-20 percent THC content found in most strains.
The latest snapshot of the brewing industry may be an indication that these types of pot products might become the go-to buzz for the average American, once Uncle Sam decides to let go of the prohibitionary standard. Pot that can be consumed all day long without getting the user ripped out of their minds will most likely become the King of Cannabis.
Brewers Already Working on the King of Buds
The brewing industry is already privy to this trend. Last year, Constellation Brands, the beer company behind Corona, Corona Light and Modelo, invested around $200 million in a Canadian medical marijuana company. In doing so, the brewer hopes to manufacturer cannabis-infused beverages to sell to its customers in the northern nation once the country goes fully legal later this year. Constellation’s CEO, Rob Sands, said in a statement at the time that “Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early-stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”
By all accounts, this was Big Beer’s message to the cannabis industry: Prepare to go big or die.
A month later, Chris Burggraeve, former chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev, which sells the leading beer brands in the country, announced that he, too, was taking his expertise to the cannabis industry. He is currently involved with a company in San Francisco called the GreenRush group that wants to become the Amazon of weed. Interestingly, Burggraeve compared marijuana to craft beer last year in an interview with Bloomberg, If the similarities hold true, it is conceivable that the cannabis scene will eventually experience a shift that requires a less potent alternative to high-THC strains.
Beer Companies Are Motivated to Join Big Cannabis
Earlier last year, New York investment firm the Cowen Group fired off a letter to its investors urging them to be patient with their alcohol investments. The company said it had identified a trend that suggests beer sales could drop by 22 percent in the coming decade thanks to legal marijuana.
It has since been discovered that 80 percent of consumers drink less booze when cannabis is tossed into the mix. For some, marijuana is already strong enough, that consuming alcohol only magnifies the buzz beyond the scope of human functionality.
Still, it has been said for years that beer and weed are more complimentary to one another rather than enemies. This argument is still being proven, making it well within the scope of possibility for more brewers to step up and find a place at the cannabis table. Considering that nationwide legalization could bring about almost $13 billion in economic growth, it makes sense that some beer companies are motivated to join in the fun.
Final Hit: There Might Be a Need for a King of Cannabis
There is a possibility that the popularity of domestic light beers in the United States has more to do with calories than a true appreciation for this sudsy beverage. Most light beers contain around 100 calories, while IPAs can top out at between 180 and 200. For the semi-health conscious consumer, hitting the bottle that is less likely to give them a gut is surely a factor. Although cannabis itself is not a risk to a person’s waistline, the after-effects can be. The munchies are something that every pot consumer battles from time to time. Fortunately, the same high THCV strains that could eventually become the blueprint for the King of Cannabis are also known for being mild munchie producers.
THCV strains could become big business in the wake of federal legalization.