The Elephant in the Fermentation room


Recreational cannabis is now legal in nine states and the district of Columbia, with medical marijuana permitted in 30 others. Most of the liberalization has occurred within the past five years. It would be fair to characterize the reaction of the alcohol industry as a progression. Vintners, brewers and distillers were generally unconcerned at first, since they viewed their product to be unique and distinct from cannabis. Concern mounted as marijuana began to cut into alcohol sales, and now the industry is fighting back: many companies are making investments in the pot market, positioning themselves for an uncertain future.

The gold rush began last year when beverage giant Constellation Brands bought a 10% stake in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth for $190 million (they have the option to increase their share to 50% of the company’s $2 billion market cap). Given what was happening on the state

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