By Derrick Stanley
According to a new report from Cowen and Company, beer sales are declining in three longtime craft beer meccas.
Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors, said that the beer business is underperforming in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, where recreational marijuana is now legal.
“While (marijuana) retail sales opened up in these markets at different points of time, with all three of these states now having fully implemented a retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” Azer wrote.
Craft beer sales are slowing in those markets but the “biggest drag” is on mainstream beer producers. Economy beer volumes are down 2.4 percent and premium domestic volumes, such as Bud Light and Coors Light, are down 4.4 percent, Azer wrote.
Craft beer growth has also slowed in the three markets analyzed by Cowen. Colorado is “in decline” while Oregon and Washington are still seeing some growth, Azer noted.
Meanwhile, import beer sales seem unaffected by legal marijuana, although volumes in those three western states are still lagging “meaningfully” behind the growth seen nationally.