Would Legalized 'Bud' Sales Affect Budweiser Sales?

Michael Calhoun
February 12, 2018 - 2:20 am
Budweiser sign in St. Louis

KMOX/Brett Blume

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- If Missouri legalizes medical marijuana or Illinois allows recreational sales, will there be fewer 6 and 12-packs of beer flying off the shelves?

We have a big beer behemoth and dozens of smaller breweries in St. Louis, so we asked Eric Shepard, executive editor of industry publication Beer Marketers Insights, about the potential impact of legalized 'bud' on sales of, well, Bud.

"If it's just flipping from illegal to legal, I don't think you'll get get a big impact," he said. "But if a lot of people switch from drinking now to another intoxicant, then it's possible" beer sales could fall.

That said, the data Shepard says he's reviewed has beer volumes remaining fairly steady in states who've legalized marijuana.

"We have not seen a major impact on beer product. In fact, in some of those states, beer is doing just fine," he explained.

What about the beer companies themselves trying to get in on this?

"I'm fairly convinced that they're certainly taking a look at it," Shepard said.

Actually, it's already happening: Constellation, owner of Svedka vodka, Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a Canadian medical marijuana business.

But he says don't expect big moves though by a company like Anheuser-Busch InBev until there's no longer a federal ban on marijuana commerce.