How Cannabis May Affect Alcohol Sales

BDSA says consumption occasions for 2 products differ
Photograph: Shutterstock

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — How will an increase in cannabis sales across the United States affect alcohol sales? It’s a question Louisville, Colo.-based data company BDSA sought to find out.  

Consumption of cannabis by alcohol consumers is on the rise, according to BDSA’s data, but consumer attitudes also show that consumption occasions for alcohol differ enough that the current threat to alcohol sales posed by legal cannabis is small.

In spring 2018, the share of consumers in adult-use markets who reported pairing cannabis with spirits or liquor was 12%, BDSA said. By spring 2022, the share who reported using cannabis with cocktails nearly doubled to 20%.

“The number of cannabis consumers who report co-consuming cannabis with certain types of alcohol has seen an appreciable rise, while occasions that present the greatest potential ‘risk’ to alcohol are unwinding at the end of the day or ‘hanging out’,” BDSA said in a recent report.

High-energy social occasions—like bar nights, special events and date nights—present a lower risk of cannabis affecting alcohol sales. On the other hand, consumers were more likely to use cannabis for health and wellness, creative endeavors and in certain outdoor activities.

“Continued growth in the cannabis space will create opportunities for brands to produce products with targeted formulations designed to meet varied need states and use occasions for consumers,” BDSA said.

BDSA helps businesses improve revenues, reduce innovation risk and prioritize market expansion with accurate and actionable cannabis market intelligence, consumer research and advisory services. The company provides a holistic understanding of the cannabis market by generating insights from point-of-sale (POS) data, wholesale data, consumer research and market forecasts.

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