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The cannabis revolution is in full swing while the alcohol industry appears to be largely sitting on the fence, drink in hand, occasionally throwing crumpled cans in the general direction of the on-going legalisation debate.
Visibly intimidated, insular and inherently conservative, large parts of the alcohol industry acknowledge and highlight the dangers to their penetration rates and profitability, but largely fail to see the huge potential behind the plumes of hazy smoke.
Fighting the surging green tide will hence become an expensive exercise in futility. Ignoring it will guarantee the belated, panicky, knee-jerk reactions that greeted the craft juggernaut once it had already established offensive positions at the macro brewers’ gates.
While hesitant comments from the likes of Brown Forman and Sam Adams over 2015-2016 highlighted the antagonistic dangers of the ascending cannabis industry for alcohol sales, more recent comments from the likes of Constellation and Heineken point to a change in direction – an embrace of a symbiotic rather than antagonistic approach.
Cannabis can indeed cross-pollinate and, ultimately, become the fertiliser for radical innovation and experimentation.