Beer, wine, and spirits producers getting into the cannabis industry is bound to make headlines as alcohol, despite being banned federally for a few years, is really as American as apple pie. Yesterday, I was rather surprised to see that a Portland Metropolitan bus (known as TriMet in these parts) was covered with a huge vodka advertisement when I was driving thru the city.
I found it somewhat odd that a government transportation agency would allow alcohol advertisements, but felt that cannabis ads probably can’t be that far behind. Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona, really shook up the financial world with its latest multi-billion-dollar investment in Canopy Growth, pushing its ownership stake up to 38%. The big beer-cannabis megadeal got coverage in The New York Times, which noted that beer companies are worried that cannabis will cut into their profits:
How concerned are beer companies? Molson Coors listed legal cannabis among the biggest possible risks to its business in its annual shareholder report earlier this year:
“The emergence of legal cannabis in certain U.S. states and Canada may result in a shift of discretionary income away from our products or a change in consumer preferences away from beer.”
So far Heineken and Molson Coors have moved to sell cannabis-infused drinks. Heineken’s Lagunitas brand has started selling nonalcoholic sparkling water featuring THC, the active component of marijuana. And Molson Coors has formed a joint venture with Hydropothecary, a weed producer, to make cannabis-infused beverages.
“As the leader in the total beverage alcohol space, we look forward to reaping the benefits of our cannabis investment, which we see as incremental to our core beer, wine and spirits portfolio,” Robert Sands, Constellation’s chief executive, told analysts on a call on Wednesday.
Studies have shown that access to legal cannabis leads to a downtick in the use of alcohol in the area, hurting the profits of corporations and craft companies alike. “I believe cannabis has affected sales,” said Deschutes Brewery CEO Michael LaLonde. “It’s so potent today. Someone might go and have a beer and do some edibles, and the combination of those two things means they don’t consume as much alcohol.”
If peer-reviewed studies are impacting beer sales and we’re hearing from major corporations as well as craft brewers that cannabis is cutting into profits, then investors should pay attention. Cannabis stocks, once on the fringe, are moving mainstream and will likely increase in growth after October 17th; you can hedge your “bets” by investing in companies that are diversified, and not just focused on cannabis. There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping the momentum of the cannabis industry and the growth potential is huge, investors should certainly do their due diligence, but cannabis-related stocks should definitely be considered by those looking to take advantage of the opportunity in entering a burgeoning industry at the foundational level.
Learn more about cannabis stocks, policy, and business while networking with top investors and entrepreneurs at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, Oregon, this September 27th-28th. Get your tickets by September 12th to save $200!