Beer barons need to brace for a major shakeup in the wake of marijuana legalization, warns Chris Burggraeve — a former marketing exec for Anheuser-Busch (the makers of Budweiser). 

"This is one of the fastest-growing categories globally,” Burggraeve recently told Bloomberg. “Why? Because people want it. When consumers want something, you ignore it at your peril.”

That's why he's begun investing in the marijuana industry since leaving his position as Chief Marketing Officer for Anheuser-Busch. Burggraeve recently joined the advisory board for GreenRush Group — a cannabis delivery service in San Francisco that hopes to become the Amazon of weed. And he co-founded Toast, a company that sells pre-rolled joints.

And he thinks his former colleagues should consider following suit or they'll be caught off-guard like they were during the rise of the craft beer movement 20 years ago.

“The same way that craft beer started and, for the longest time, was ignored and then exploded, there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen in this space,” Burggraeve added. “There will be part supplementing and part complementing. The jury is out on how and where that will happen.”

The first signs of a major shakeup occurred last month when Constellation Brands Inc. (distributors of Corona) took a 9.9 stake in the Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth Corp. and announced plans to partner with Canopy to produce a cannabis-infused beverage.

If that deal was only a foreshock signalling a larger seismic event in the market, then the upcoming quake could reshape the liquor industry as we know it.

h/t Bloomberg