Alcoholic Drinks and Cannabis: One More Headache or a Hangover Remedy?

April 2019

The tectonic shifts created by the budding cannabis industry could radically reshape the geography of recreation and health, provide alternative pathways to relaxation and disrupt intoxication rituals. This briefing examines what product offerings, the ever-evolving landscape of occasions and the new age of retail experiences look like.

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Key findings

The alcoholic drinks industry is already facing significant headwinds that point towards lingering existential threats.

Overwhelming maturity, generational shifts, rising health awareness and the ascent of mindful drinking as a driver of innovation and new occasions and rituals are already putting the alcoholic drinks industry under pressure. While cannabis has not yet been an integral part of this equation, the accelerating legalisation wave will increase such pressure.

Cannabis should not merely be viewed as a disruptive antagonist but rather as a potential remedy for the alcohol industry’s difficulties.

Research collaborations, joint ventures and acquisitions already highlight the pioneering role taken by the alcoholic drinks industry as it spearheads activity in the emerging cannabis segment, creating significant business opportunities. From positioning to microdosing, and from appellations to branding, the parallels, synergies and symbiotic potential should be embraced sooner rather than later.

Alcohol will provide key learnings to a booming cannabis segment still at an embryonic stage, while cannabis will retain unique competitive advantages.

Cannabis can gain a competitive edge to establish itself as the ideal substance through tailoring offerings to specific demands and needs, focusing on a widening spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and their varied combinations, and ultimately mapping the endocannabinoid system to provide customised solutions.

If the creation of a holistic responsible intoxication industry is the ultimate destination, ensuring accountability credentials will be essential.

Self-regulation by the cannabis industry, a widening spectrum of offers facilitating a shift away from an obsessive focus on high THC content, supporting third-party myth busting research, and investing in reliable and objective methods to minimise accidents will be some of the key ways to hit the ground running.


Key findings

Introduction: Through the Alcoholic Drinks Looking Glass

On the defensive
The story so far
A spectre hangs over the alcohol industry: the substitution question
Why are legal states not harbingers of doom (yet)?
Is the alcohol industry too complacent ?
Alcoholic drinks impacted by cannabis legalisation

Trends and Visions of the Future

The f uture of positioning: lighter shades of green
Average age of cannabis users is rising
Commoditisation versus craftmanship
The rise of a ppellations

Beyond THC and CBD: Terpenes and The Next Cannabinoid Superstars

Beyond the hype: Cannabinoids of the future
Terpenes: key notes in the symphony of synergism
Customisation: a vision of the bespoke end game
From farms to vats: S ynthetic alternatives
From botanical cross pollination to the rise of post-alcohol
From semantic appropriation to hacking beverage occasions
Listening to the sound of cannabis?
Developments in the cannabis “on-trade”

Driving, Dangers and Downside Risks

Under the influence – complications beyond drink driving
Mindful consumption: The antidote to reefer madness
In alcohol’s footsteps


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