Millennials Drive Use of Cannabis – And Maybe Lower Alcohol Consumption

A new study finds that Millennials are more likely to combine alcohol and marijuana use – and when they do, at least half consume less alcohol.

That’s one reason why the report also found that increased cannabis use across the United States could hit the alcohol industry hard.

International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), which collects data on the alcohol industry, conducted a new survey with BDS Analytics, which focuses on the analysis of the cannabis industry.

The report found that Millennials make up about 45% of those referred to as “dualists” – those who use both cannabis and alcohol. The report called that “a sobering statistic for beverage alcohol companies who are trying to capture long-term share of mind and wallet among this important demographic.”

Boomers vs. Millennials

Other reports have found that Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are increasingly turning to marijuana. This is particular true for those who are attempting to manage chronic pain. In some cases, it has become a substitute for opioids.

However, the new report found that Millennials still lead the way on cannabis use. It reported that the majority of Baby Boomers remain “alcohol exclusive,” while Millennials preferred mixing alcohol and cannabis or simply consuming cannabis alone.

Further, 44% of the “dualists’ – about half of which are Millennials – said they felt cannabis should be available for purchase in the same places where you can find alcohol.

By the way, the alcohol of choice for those who use alcohol and cannabis is craft beer, not wine.

Alcohol Industry Crowded By Cannabis

Taken together, the report’s findings show a country where the younger generation is using cannabis in larger numbers, sometimes with alcohol but also sometimes to replace it. Many also apparently view cannabis on the same level as alcohol, considering they want weed available where they also can buy their favorite IPA.

That signals potential trouble for the alcohol industry. In the news release, IWSR U.S. President Brady Rand said that cannabis does “pose a risk to the beverage alcohol industry in the future. It’s important that alcohol brands pay attention to their consumers, recognizing that some occasions may result in a decrease in alcohol consumption in place of, or alongside, legal cannabis.”

For the alcohol industry, the reaction has been to invest in cannabis. Industry giants such as AB InBev, Molson Coors and Constellation Brands all have invested in creating marijuana-infused beverages.

The good news for consumers is that all this means more choices. For example, a Colorado company already is promoting a marijuana-infused beer.

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