Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Could Legalization of Marijuana Spell Trouble for Craft Beer?

Not really, I suspect, but there is strong evidence that medical marijuana laws had a considerable and negative effect on beer sales in the states in which they were enacted.  Total per-capita sales decreased by 5% as a result of the law which suggests that beer and marijuana are strong subsitiutes. This is overall sales and so we don't know the differential impact on sales of macro versus craft beer, but I suspect that to the extent these substances are subsitiutes, they are so due to their intoxicating properties and not the refinement of the beer itself.  Thus I suspect that this drop in beer sales is mostly macro beer.  But who knows - maybe my impression of the refined craft beer drinker is all wrong?

It would be interesting, perhaps, to test the effect on craft beer sales in Washington and Oregon after the legalization of marijuana in the former. 

1 comment:

Jeff Alworth said...

Actually, it wouldn't shock me if it affected Oregon more than other states. A huge amount of the beer we drink here was brewed here, so even small shifts could be noticeable.