Cannabis appears to have replaced the post-work drink for a significant portion of those living in legal marijuana jurisdictions.
Canadians like to drink. A 2017 World Health Organization report found that Canadians 15 years or older drank 10 liters of pure alcohol per capita in 2016, which is 3.6 liters more than the world average. The United States wasn’t far behind, consuming 9.3 liters per capita, and Lithuania far outpaced the competition, with a stunning 18.2 liters of pure alcohol per capita.
Pure alcohol is rather vague, so let’s get more specific. According to Beer Canada statistics, the average Canadian of legal drinking age consumed 210 cans of beer in 2018. That’s a lot of beer, especially when you consider 20% of the country abstains from alcohol consumption. However, the figure represented a 1.2% decrease from 2017, Beer Canada said, and national beer sales declined by 0.3% as well.
Those are small numbers, but they underline an important trend highlighted in a new Cowen and Co. industry report that could eventually make its way to the U.S.. In Canada’s first year of legal adult-use cannabis, domestic beer sales experienced their worst decline in six years. Domestic beer volume fell 3.9%, which is worse than the national beer volume fall at 3.0%.
This indicates a new lifestyle trend emerging in both Canada and legal cannabis states in America — weed on the weekday, beer and booze on the weekend. As Cowen analysts call it, consumers are also chasing a better “buzz for your buck.” Cheap beer used to serve as an easy way to wind down after a long day at work. Have a couple brews, don’t get that drunk, and relax.
Cannabis appears to have replaced that lifestyle function for a significant portion of those living in legal marijuana jurisdictions. Cowen analysts emphasized that serious downturns in beer consumption and sales will only continue in Canada, as many provinces roll out more marijuana products such as vaporizers, edibles, and tinctures in the coming year.
Proof of these trends exist in legal marijuana states in America, too. A 2019 report from the Distilled Spirits Council reported that per capita beer sales declined between 2.3 to 3.6% in legal marijuana states Colorado, Washington, and Oregon following adult-use cannabis legalization. While federal marijuana legalization remains at least several years away, we should likely expect similar trends to continue in the United States when that occurs.