Service of Changing Taste: The Lowdown and the High

August 13th, 2018

Categories: Beer, Cannabis, Drinks, Trends

Question: What do smart marketers do when consumers cool on their once hot product? Answer: Develop the next trend.

Beer consumption has slumped—Americans chose wine or cocktails over beer in 2017 for the first time. Saabira Chaudhuri and Annie Gasparro wrote that drinkers “are thinking about other things: taste, value, beer bellies.”

In their Wall Street Journal article they cite Beer Institute stats: the brew was 60.8 percent of people’s drink of choice in the mid-1990s. Last year it dropped to 49.7 percent. People 21 to 27 years of age chose beer 65 percent of the time in 2006 vs. 43 percent two years ago according to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA.

Enter brewers like Lagunitas, a Heineken company, among several “diving into the deep end of the cannabis-infused drink pool.” The brand introduced a sparkling water drink for sale in California called Hi-Fi Hops according to Steve Huff on “Lagunitas says their 420-friendly fizz comes in two strengths: a lighter version with 5mgs of THC and a stronger one loaded with 10mgs of the only reason anyone messes with cannabis anyway (it’s the THC that brings the mellow, in case you didn’t know).” THC stands for tetrahydrocannabidinol.

According to Huff, “If anything, the beer maker is a little late to this game. Blue Moon founder Keith Villa is producing craft beer loaded with THC. Corona is ready to join the game, too. And California vintners have been infusing wine with weed for a while now.”

Cannabis is legal in Canada but is against federal law here. Mike Adams, contributing writer at Forbes, wrote that “Molson Coors, the second largest brewer in the world, is reportedly trying to get into the game.” It’s considered by some currently a risky venture for sales in the U.S right now though “the beverage sector alone is expected to produce $15 billion a year, according to statistics from Cannabiz Consumer Group.”

Adams reported that in Canada the market might jump from $5 billion to $22 billion because, as a Canadian brewer planning to introduce a cannabis beer observed, “Smoking has lost, and beverages are how we like to become altered.”

Do you think that cannabis drinks will take up the sales gap for breweries made by decreased beer sales? Will pressure by breweries, along with other interest groups wanting to make cannabis legal, convince lawmakers to change the law in the US? Have you tried a cannabis drink?

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8 Responses to “Service of Changing Taste: The Lowdown and the High”

  1. Anonymous Said:

    Oh my God! No official response from me to this one! Can’t believe it’s true!

    What will they think of next?

  2. JBS Said:

    I use medical marijuana (for pain), so I guess I could get a prescription for it and buy a drink! Can’t imagine doing that.

  3. ASK Said:

    The end of civilization as we know it?

  4. Protius Said:

    Years ago Anheuser-Busch was a client of ours, and at a small lunch I attended I remember being fascinated by its VP Finance’s explanation of how the company could project sales and revenue so accurately. It was simple. In good times, Americans drink whiskey, and in bad, they drink beer. Therefore, in recessions the company’s beer sales went up, and if the stock market was soaring, they’d go down. I suspect that is still true.

    As to marijuana, we are a nation of addicts eager to get a fix; hence, our national infatuation with scum such as Trump. Our current leadership would be delighted to see us, its captive consumers, all docilely zonked out. No thank you.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anon, JBS and ASK,

    I, too was surprised to learn of the inevitability of this addition to our drink choices. When I saw the Hi-Fi Hops packaging all I could think of was laundry pods that come in luscious, tempting colors and shapes that young children think is candy. I’ve seen commercials warning parents to take good care to close the detergent container properly.

    The Hi Hops cans of spiked fizzy water look like soda and a child who can’t read might very well pull one out of the fridge in error. The argument is they could do the same with beer but my guess is that most little ones would find the beer far too bitter to take more than a sip.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You implied that many of us already are zonked out with or without the help of stimulants and I agree. I am sure that there are studies showing how certain personalities, when confronted with facts, can ignore them and continue to believe that lies are truths and “words are meaningless; it’s actions that count.” The latter was said this morning about DJT by a longtime radio newsman. He continued, “He says what you want to hear.” That’s supposed to be OK in a president? Sometimes I think that MY seltzer is already spiked.

    We may need to take the edge off if Washington continues in the direction it has been and lawmakers ignore what is happening. So many have forgotten that we elect them to represent us, not to keep their jobs at all costs.

    More to your point, a zonked population is easier to manipulate which is just what the current administration would welcome.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    It’s possible that deteriorating quality of beer is to blame for lower consumption. I’m prejudiced, I like dark robust beer which is becoming harder to get. Heineken’s and Becks Darks have virtually vanished, Lowenbrau no longer deals with the US, and the market is drowned with a plethora of weak and dreary beverages.

    I don’t see cannabis mixtures as working, but who knows? Perhaps it’s worth a try.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You bring up a key point that I didn’t read in any of the articles I scanned: TASTE. Will adding cannabis in any way alter the taste of beer? While perhaps irrelevant, I find the taste of sugar substitutes in food and drinks from yogurt to soda so appalling I’d rather pass if those are the only options.

    I’m a seltzer lover–plain, not with fake flavors. If Hi Fi Hops has a funny taste or after taste, I’m not going to like it either even if it is fizzy water and cannabis.

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