Despite a controversial reputation in some regions, Millennials are increasingly turning to cannabis over alcohol, according to MarketWatch.
Spiros Malandrakis, head of research for alcoholic drinks at industry analysis company Euromonitor International, said alcohol companies that don’t adapt to this shift face huge reductions in future revenue.
Euromonitor estimates the global cannabis market, including illicit markets, at over $150 billion. The alcohol market is currently just $58 billion.
The cannabis revolution is in full swing while the alcohol industry appears to be largely sitting on the fence, drink in hand, occasionally throwing crumpled cans in the general direction of the on-going legalization debate. Visibly intimidated, insular and inherently conservative, large parts of the alcohol industry acknowledge and highlight the dangers to their penetration rates and profitability, but largely fail to see the huge potential behind the plumes of hazy smoke.” — Spiros Malandrakis, via MarketWatch
However, some alcohol companies like Heineken-owned Lagunitas brewing and Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona, have begun to invest in cannabis. The 75-year-old trade organization Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America has come out in support ending cannabis prohibition, as well.
Millennials are drinking less alcohol than previous generations. A survey of 50,000 young adults and adolescents in the U.S. found that college students who consume alcohol daily fell from 4.3% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2017 — halved in just one year. In 1980, 6.5% used alcohol daily.
Cannabis use, however, is increasing: Yahoo News found in 2017 that a majority of the 55 million cannabis users in the U.S. are millennials, though the share possessed by other demographics is growing rapidly.
Prohibition, however, remains in place for much of the U.S. and some who choose cannabis over alcohol still have a hard time broaching the subject with others. Legalization and normalization can and will fix that, but it will take time.