Many of the main differences between amateur brewers and growers come down to the laws surrounding the product.
In recent history there has been a growing interest in both home brewing beer and home growing marijuana. Home brewing kits have become a commonplace gift to give a male partner who enjoys craft beer. Meanwhile, year after year more states re legalize marijuana, and allow citizens to legally grow marijuana on their own property.
The art of homebrewing and that of marijuana home cultivation might have two very different end products, but a lot of the motivating factors are the same. The end goal for both groups is to create a superb product that is unique and can be enjoyed by themselves or shared with others. But apart from the fact that both of these groups are creating products that create a state of euphoria and relaxation, what else do they have in common? There are, in fact, several similarities and also a few key differences between these two groups.
The first similarity within these two groups is that both home brewers and home growers are in the vast minority of consumers. Approximately 6% of cannabis users grow their own marijuana, while there are an estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the US, according to the American Home Brewers Association, which is less than half of 1% of the population. It is important to note, however, that this sliver of a percentage of the population, according to the same American Home Brewers Association statistics, creates 1% of the total US beer production.
Another similarity between the two groups is that the majority of both are men. While New Frontier reported that 6 in 10 marijuana cultivators are men, the numbers are far higher for home brewers. According to a 2021 Brulosophy homebrewers survey, 98.4% of homebrewers identified as male. This number makes it clear that home brewing is currently viewed more as a boys club, while home growing is a hobby or art form that both male and females feel comfortable and inclined to pursue.
Both of these hobbies are also popular in the youthful to middle-aged tier of individuals. As far as marijuana home growers are concerned, according to the New Frontier data, “nearly 1/3 (31%) of them being among ages 18-34, and nearly half (49%) being among ages 35-54.” Similarly, according to the Brulosophy survey, 39.5% of home brewers are between 30-39, with another 26.6% between 40-49. It appears this 25-50 age range is a popular sweet spot for both of these home crafting hobbies.
It is important to note, however, that the laws surrounding marijuana cultivation may be skewing these numbers in slightly different directions than they would be if marijuana were legalized. For example, while 31% of of the cultivators were reported being between 18-34, a Statistica poll reported, “More than half of respondents (54%) aged between 18 and 24 years old said they would definitely or probably grow cannabis types if it were legal in the United States in 2020.” In other words, if marijuana were legal, we may see very different demographics at play.
In fact, many of the main differences between these amateur brewers and growers come down to the laws surrounding the product. Brewing your own beer is legal everywhere in the United States, and hardly regulated (unless of course you intend to sell your product). So it is no surprise that 31% of home brewers are from the South and 26% are from the Midwest, according to the American Home Brewers Association. Marijuana, on the other hand, is highly regulated and completely illegal in many states. This includes many of the southern and midwestern states where home brewing is most popular.
The motivating factors for brewing at home and growing on property are also slightly different, often due to the nature of laws and the product itself. While the majority of home growers consume both their product and products off the shelf, “Nearly three-quarters (72%) reported either exclusively or mostly consuming flower which they have grown for themselves,” according to the New Frontier results. In fact, 14% of home growers say they grow due to a lack of other resources. This is certainly a problem unique to marijuana, since there is never a lack of beer in the US.
Perhaps the main similarity for both home brewers and home growers is that both groups love what they do. Whether it is out of necessity, interest or curiosity, there seems to also be a strong enjoyment involved in this hobby. With so many opportunities out there in the world to waste time and fall into a dull routine, perhaps the main number we should all watch is how many people decide to embark on the journeys of home brewing and home growing, and hope we can continue to watch both numbers climb.