With beer sales falling in the United States in recent years, the major companies in the industry are looking for new ways to increase their sales in the 21st century. And it appears there's one area they're really looking to break into: marijuana.
Business Insider recently ran a story about how the major beer companies in America are looking to expand into the country's legal marijuana market. Beer sales market share fell by one percent from 2016 to 2017, which follows a ten-year trend in which beer lost 10 percent of its market share to wine and hard liquors. Meanwhile, marijuana made $6 billion in the United States in 2016, and is expected to hit $50 billion by 2026. For beer companies, this is bad news. Analysts predict the beer industry will lose more than $2 billion to marijuana sales in the near future.
So instead of trying to compete with the marijuana industry, beer companies are trying to join it. Just last week Constellation Beverages, the company most famous for making Corona, bought a 10 percent stake in a Canadian cannabis company. And earlier this year, Lagunitas (which is owned by Heineken) test-launched a brand of cannabis-infused beers.
Many believe these were just the beginning of a trend where Big Beer gets involved with the marijuana industry. A similar trend occurred last decade with craft beers. As major brands, such as Budweiser and Bud Light, saw their sales drop, craft beer sales increased dramatically. This led to Big Beer invested heavily into that market. In 2009, craft brewers sold under 10 million barrels of beer. That number increased to 25 million barrels by 2015, thanks to investment from Big Beer.
It remains to be seen just how much Big Beer will invest into the marijuana industry in the United States. While several states have legalized it recreationally (including the largest, California), it's still illegal at the federal level and is sure to generate some headaches if they were to get involved.
But then again, if Big Beer decides it wants marijuana legal across the United States, it only takes a few bribes "campaign donations" before suddenly everyone in Congress supports cannabis.
(h/t Business Insider)