The Bengal Bite #104 | Craft
Even though the analogy can break down depending on where you go with it, looking at beer can give some insight into cannabis too. Most people who happened to look at a drink menu in the 90s and one today would probably tell you that the beer menu used to be much shorter, if maybe a bit less sweet. Most people know that craft beer is a thing now, but many would be surprised to know just how much of a thing it is, and how quickly it has grown.
The table below tries to put the growth of craft beer into perspective. Even as overall beer volumes have shrunk at an average of 0.6% per year for the last 8 years, craft beer volumes have been growing at 6%. People’s consumption of craft beer is only exceeded by how much they are willing to spend on it, which has increased an average of 8% per year so that while every 1 in 8 beers drank is craft, craft accounts for $1 in every $4 spent on beer in the US.
This change in what Americans drink and how much they pay for it has gone on long enough that it has passed the fad stage into a more predictable push in consumer behavior. Why are Americans doing it? Our pet theory is that culture has changed as America has grown more diverse and more wealthy. Where Americans used to indicate status by being able to consume the same products as everyone else, now Americans find new things to consume that are better matched to their individual tastes and identity, and then seek to share it with their peers. Grab a table at the hot new restaurant, wash your Mongolian-Libyan fusion cheeseburger down with the latest craft IPA, and finish off the night with a great new strain from your local craft cannabis producer seems like more the modern pattern of consumption than the 1950s equivalent.