April 03, 2017

The legalisation of marijuana in the US is expected to affect $2 billion of retail liquor sales, according to a new report from Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G).

The survey suggests that “27% of surveyed beer drinkers have or will substitute beer for marijuana when and if it becomes legal in their state."

Anecdotally wine and spirits sales are also expected to take a hit.

What’s surprising is the ease that regular long term drinkers have/will jump from beer and possibly alcohol completely.

For years industry pundits have told us that it’s the flavour and taste of beer and spirits that motivates consumers. 

The argument then segues into attributes of both “the experience” and “the occasion” that creates the environment for drinkers to relax and party.

The question that follows: what drives brand or category loyalty, when consumers can readily switch and ditch?
Can the argument be synthesised into something simpler: for consumers is it about the buzz, meaning the cost of a joint and its effects may be cheaper and quicker (with no calorie considerations) than an equivalent volume of booze?

If in the short terms sales do drop by 20-30%, there’ll be some horrific fall out, however what this will look like longer term no one knows.
Will folks drift back to beer and spirits? 

Brands, retailers and bars are in for interesting times, perhaps now’s a good time for conjurers and marketers to huddle and strategise, to create new stories to help hold the existing market together.

Image courtesy of www.freepik.com

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